'State of shock': Aussies stun World No.1 in beach volleyball boilover

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·Sports Editor
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Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy, pictured here after shocking Canada.
Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy shocked Canada in the beach volleyball quarter-finals. Image: Getty

Aussie beach volleyballers Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy have stunned the reigning world champions Canada in a major boilover at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Aussies are on the cusp of securing Australia's first Olympic medal in beach volleyball since 2000, having prevailed in a quarter-final thriller on Tuesday night.

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Artacho del Solar and Clancy defeated Canada's Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 21-15 19-21 15-12, taking 56 minutes to advance to the semi-finals.

The Australians will start heavy favourites when they face Latvia's World No.15 combination of Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka in Thursday's semi.

Victory in that contest would give them a chance to follow in the footsteps of Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst, who won gold on Bondi beach at the Sydney Olympics.

Defeat will mean a bronze-medal match awaits.

Artacho del Solar and Clancy celebrated jubilantly after dismissing the top seeds to become Australia's first pairing to reach the final four of an Olympics since 2004.

"It was disappointing we went up against the girls in such an early stage of the tournament," Artacho del Solar said.

"We knew it was going to be a gold medal type of match.

Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy, pictured here celebrating after reaching the beach volleyball semi-finals at the Olympics.
Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy celebrate after reaching the beach volleyball semi-finals at the Olympics. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

"We had to come out strong and stay really aggressive. We have been working so hard for this moment."

The underdogs showed how much they have improved since losing the 2018 Commonwealth Games final between the same two pairings.

"We are one of the best teams in the world," Clancy said.

"Everybody is, that's why it's the Olympics.

"It was tough that we had to face Mel and Sarah this early, but it's such a great opportunity that we got to take on that battle early.

"Now we just have to do it all over again."

Canadians 'in a state of shock' after beach volleyball loss

Canadian broadcaster CBC said Pavan and Humana-Paredes “stilled seemed to be in a state of shock” when they spoke to reporters after the match.

“They showed up, and we did not play to the level that we know we can play to,” Humana-Paredes said.

“I think it will take weeks, months maybe to make sense of it. It just didn’t show up on the court and I don’t know why.”

Pavan added: “We were always kind of playing catch-up, whereas they were on the offensive from the service line and kept us back. That was the difference."

A shell-shocked Pavan and Humana-Paredes called a time-out while leading 12-11 in the second set then successfully steadied, sending the match to a deciding set.

But it was Artacho del Solar, who emigrated to Australia from Peru at age 11, and Clancy who exhibited more composure when it mattered most.

"They kept us under a lot of service pressure the whole match," Pavan said.

Australia led 3-1, 8-4 then 12-7 in the third set, failing to show many nerves in a sign that bodes well for their medal prospects.

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with AAP

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