Australia's Laird/Bell and McHugh/Schumann favourites in Sunday's Shepparton semifinals

Shepparton, Australia, March 4, 2017 - Australia will have three teams, Germany two, and Canada, USA and New Zealand one each when the semifinals begin at the FIVB World Tour event in Shepparton on Sunday.

The top seeds in both the men's and women's competition, Australia's Nikki Laird and Phoebe Bell, and Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann, will start favourites to take their respective titles in front of their home crowd.

McHugh and Schumann will first have to overcome USA's Adam Roberts and Martin Lorenz, who had to work hard in their first round encounter but then hit their form in the quarter finals against Japan.

The Shepparton crowd will be hoping for an all-Australian men's final, with Cole Durant and Zachery Schubert contesting the second semifinal.

Standing in their way will be New Zealand brothers, Sam and Ben O'Dea, who made a slow start on Saturday before hitting top form to dispose of fellow New Zealanders, Mike Watson and Tom Hartles 21-19, 21-9.

In the women's draw, Laird and Bell, who are one of the few teams yet to drop a set this weekend, will take on Germany's Kim Behrens and Anni Schumacher.

The Germans had a tough struggle against local hopes Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Britt Kendall before winning 2-1.

The second semifinal will see the only other unbeaten team, Canada’s Julie Gordon and Camille Sexton, take on the second German team of Leonie Kortzinger and Sandra Seyfferth, who took three sets in the blazing Australian sun to win both their matches.

Quick links - Beach volleyball:
Shepparton 1-Star - Website
Shepparton 1-Star - Schedule and results
Shepparton 1-Star - Teams - Men
Shepparton 1-Star - Teams - Women
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2017
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Beach Volleyball - Beach Volleyball
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