Canadians Bansley and Maloney beat world champions at FIVB World Tour finale

 PHUCKET, Thailand – Heather Bansley and Elizabeth Maloney of Toronto produced two huge upsets, including one against the world champions, to advance to the quarterfinals on Thursday at the at the $190,000  FIVB World Tour stop in beach volleyball.

Bansley and Maloney, seeded 26th, opened the main draw stunning seventh seeds Jennifer Kessy-Boss and April Ross of the U.S., 21-17, 15-21, 15-11in 66 minutes. Kessy-Boss and Ross, the reigning world champions, have won two tournaments this year on the circuit and reached the podium five times. They took gold at last season’s stop here.

“It’s pretty surreal to beat them,” said Bansley. “I’m speechless. We took ourselves by surprise but when we were playing we felt like we were right there with them. It was really windy this morning and we got a couple of lucky breaks."

The Canadian pair advanced to the main draw on the circuit for the third time this season after posting two wins in qualifying on Wednesday.

"We stayed really patient,” Maloney added.  “In the second set they served us off the court but we stuck with it.”

Carrying their momentum from the victory over the Americans, Bansley and Maloney beat 10th seeds Kamoltip Kulna and Yupa Phokongploy of Thailand 21-18, 21-16. Their next opponents on Friday are second-seeds Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig of Germany with six medals this season including a gold.

Liz Cordonier of Vancouver and Jamie Broder of Victoria lost their opening match in the main draw and fell again in the repechage.