Porec, Croatia, June 30, 2017 - Four women’s teams from four different countries won two matches each here Friday to advance to the semifinals of the $600,000 Porec Major as seventh-seeded Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas of Brazil will be challenged by pairs from, Canada the Czech Republic and Switzerland for the podium positions at the FIVB World Tour event.
Joining the Brazilians in the final four round at the Porec Major will be fifth-seeded Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova of Czech Republic, sixth-seeded Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes of Canada and ninth-seeded Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli of Switzerland.
While the European and Canadians teams will be seeking their first-ever FIVB World Tour gold medals, the 32-year-old Fernanda and the 29-year old Barbara have combined to win international titles. The Brazilians won their first title together earlier this season in China (Xiamen) as the two played in the gold medal match at the 2015 FIVB World Championships in The Hague with Barbara and Agatha Bednarczuk defeating Fernanda and Taiana Lima for the trophy.
To reach their second FIVB World Tour semifinal in 16 events, Betschart and Huberli posted a 2-0 (21-19, 22-20) over 14th-seeded Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes of the United States. Betschart and Huberli lead the series with the Americans 2-1.
The 26-year old Hermannova and 29-year old Slukova, who will be playing in their third FIVB semifinal in 21 World Tour appearances together, posted a 2-1 (15-21, 21-12, 15-10) quarterfinal win in 42 minutes over Czech Republic rivals and 18th-seeded Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Kvapilova.
In an all-Brazilian quarterfinal match, Fernanda and Barbara posted a 2-1 (22-20, 18-21, 15-12) win in 48 minutes over top-seeded Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca.
With their two wins Friday, Fernanda and Barbara eliminated the previous two Porec Major gold medal winning teams. Talita and Larissa captured the inaugural Croatian title in 2015 with Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude the 2016 winners. To open play Friday, Fernanda and Barbara scored a 2-1 (22-20, 24-26, 15-12) win in 60 minutes over the second-seeded Laboureur and Sude.
The 30-year old Pavan and the 24-year old Humana-Paredes reached their third World Tour semifinal in five FIVB starts by eliminating 12-seeded Joana Heidrich / Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland 2-1 (24-26, 21-15, 20-18) in a 58-minute quarterfinal match.