After a slow start to the season in Fuzhou, the Canadians have stepped up and now have four guaranteed Top Ten finishes. Here's what happened while you were asleep.
We'll get the men out of the way first. It looked like the early season struggles were continuing for Josh Binstock (Richmond Hill, On) and Sam Schachter (Richmond Hill, On) in their Round 1 match against Australia when they lost control late to drop the first set. Luckily in the second the boys found their mojo. A little more energy and a little more fight closed out the second 21-17 to force a 3rd, where they stepped up once again, with Binstock finishing the match with two big blocks to close it 15-10.
Next was Semenov/Krasilnikov of Russia. The second-ranked team in Fuzhou won Pool B and got the direct bye to Round 2, but with momentum of their side, the Canadians made quick work of them. A 21-17, 21-19 win had them off to the quarterfinals.
Having to play three matches in one day is never easy, especially if the third is a quarterfinal. Drawing Krou/Rowlandson of France, Binstock/Schachter narrowly missed out on a rematch with Germany in the semis, falling 16-21, 18-21 to the French. They finish with a 5th in the first event of the season.
Over on the women's side, the Canadians were perfect on the first day of Main Draw action, and they kept the ball rolling yesterday as well. Sarah Pavan (Kitchener, On) and Heather Bansley (Waterdown, On) clinched their pool with an injury forfeit by China. They take on Arvaniti/Tsiartsiani of Greece in Round 2, a match you can watch on Court 2 at 11:00 p.m. EDT/ 8:00 p.m. PDT.
The always tough Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat from the U.S. were ranked fourth coming into Fuzhou, but that didn't seem to matter to Jamie Broder (Victoria, BC) and Kristina Valjas (Toronto, On). The 13th-ranked Canadians came out firing, handing the Americans their first loss of the season 21-14, 21-17. With a bye to Round 2, they will face Gallay/Klug of Argentina at 11:50 p.m. EDT/ 8:50 p.m. PDT.
The final team to clinch a Top Ten finish is Melissa Humana-Paredes (Toronto, ON) and Taylor Pischke (Winnipeg, Mb). Already sitting at 2-0, they took down Gallay/Klug of Argentina 21-18, 21-15. A spot in the quarters is up for grabs when they take on Fendrick/Sweat at 11:50 p.m. EDT/ 8:50 p.m. PDT.