Upset victory for Lessard and Martin to open main draw on beach volleyball World Tour

MOSCOW - Marie-Andrée Lessard of Ville LaSalle, Que., and Annie Martin of Sherbrooke, Que., upset 11th seeds Doris Schwaiger and Stefanie Schwaiger of Austria in their opening main draw match on Wednesday at the fifth stop on the beach volleyball World Tour circuit.


The tournament is also the second of five this season designated as a Grand Slam tournament with prize money nearly doubled to $300,000 for both the men and women.


“We were expecting a tough match but we’ve had success against them in the past,” said Lessard, who posted three ninth-place finishes with Martin on the circuit last season.  “So we felt we had a chance to beat them although it didn’t start well.”


Lessard and Martin, seeded 22nd, took the match in comeback fashion 16-21, 21-17, 15-8 in 48 minutes for their third victory in two days.  The Canadians opened the tournament Tuesday winning their two qualifying round matches.


“We were a little bit tense at the beginning but started to play more freely in the second,” said Lessard about Wednesday’s match.  “Our defence improved and we were able to hold our services longer.”


The Canadians are tied for first spot in pool F with sixth-seeds Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig of Germany who won their opening match in straight sets over 27th seeds Gioria Daniela and Giulia Momoli of Italy.


The round robin portion of the tournament concludes Thursday.  The top team in each of the eight pools advance to the round of 16 while second and third will battle it out in a playoff to grab those other eight round of 16 spots.


In men’s play, Christian Redmann and Richard Van Huizen of Toronto had a bye to the main draw and start Thursday.