Sydney, Australia, November 23, 2014 – Australia’s top-ranked female beach volleyball team has underlined its class with a comprehensive straight-sets win in the opening round of the Australian Grand Slam tour at Manly Beach in Sydney.
Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy were far too strong for South Australia’s Becchara Palmer and Zina Stone, 21-11, 21-15.
In the men’s final, the power pairing of Adelaide’s Chris McHugh and Bo Soderberg proved too strong for Western Australians Casey Grice and Cole Durant.
Louise Bawden and Becchara Palmer were partners at the 2012 London Olympics, but have since gone their separate ways.
But the real star of the women’s gold medal match was 21-year-old Taliqua Clancy, anointed last year by Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medalist Kerri Pottharst as the most talented player Australian beach volleyball has ever produced.
Clancy’s service game was the big difference between the two teams.
“After then end of last season we talked about what strengths we had and how we could keep pushing them,” Clancy said.
“It’s given me the power and confidence to really go for it.”
Today was the first time the former Olympic partners have met in Australian tour event final, making the win even more special for Bawden.
“I think there are sometimes a couple of things that I can see in Bec that I know is coming that split second earlier, but I’m sure she sees the same in me,” Bawden said.
In the men’s final, two new pairings met in the gold medal match.
Chris McHugh and Bo Soderberg, fierce rivals over several seasons, have come together for this summer because McHugh’s usual partner, Isaac Kapa, is recovering from surgery.
Casey Grice and Cole Durant have also come together for the first time, and are hoping to make an impact on the International stage.
Both teams had to survive three-set semi-finals, but Soderberg and McHugh were too strong in the final, winning 21-16, 21-11.
Round two of the Australian Grand Slam will be contested on the Gold Coast on the Australia Day long weekend.