Lessard and Martin 17th at World Tour stop in Gstaad

GSTAAD, Switzerland (with files from Sportcom) – Marie-Andrée Lessard of Ville LaSalle, Que., and Annie Martin of Sherbrooke, Que., had quite a day on Thursday at the World Tour beach volleyball stop in Gstaad.  The good news is they advanced to the elimination round and will wind up with a 17th place finish.

In their third and final round robin match, Lessard and Martin defeated Christine Saka and Andrezza Rtvelo of Georgia 21-15, 21-17 to finish with a 1-2 record. The victory ended a nasty slump for the pair which had lost their three round robin matches at the previous two tournament.

In the first elimination round, they were matched up with top –seed and last week’s champions Jennifer Kessy and April Ross of the U.S., and lost 21-12, 21-12.

‘’We shouldn’t have faced them that quickly in the elimination round but the draw didn’t go our way,’’ said Martin.

‘’It wasn’t the ideal team for us to face and they played a very good match.  They are very physical and they capitalized on their height. They also serve very well. We also had good serves but it wasn’t enough to have a close match.’’

Despite the loss, the Canadian pair was relieved to put up a victory in this tournament.

‘’We’ve been playing well, except we had no wins to show for it. It feel great to get a victory today,’’ said Martin.  ‘’Instead of sharing the blocking duties, today I did all the blocking. It’s a change in strategy that worked well. We need to keep playing with the same energy. We are on the right track.’’

Heather Bansley and Liz Maloney, both of Toronto, didn’t advance in qualifying.

On the men’s side, Christian Redmann of Toronto and Ben Saxton of Calgary won their two matches in qualifying to advance to the main draw. In the main draw, they are 0-2 in round robin play and must win their third match Friday to have a chance to advance to the elimination round.

Josh Binstock and Richard Van Huizen of Toronto didn’t advance in qualifying.