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2016-09-13 20:46:00 CEST

I said yes in a second says Melissa!

Torontonian jumped at the chance to partner Sarah Pavan

Melissa (top) can’t wait for the Center Court action at 5pm today. Photocredit: Pedrag Vuckovic. Melissa (top) can’t wait for the Center Court action at 5pm today. Photocredit: Pedrag Vuckovic.

Melissa Humana-Paredes could be sunning herself on holiday but instead she’s at the Swatch World Tour Finals in Toronto and is partnering Sarah Pavan in this evening’s mouthwatering country quota clash!

The 23-year-old was preparing to end her season after the Long Beach Grand Slam but in the wake of the sensational news of Pavan and Heather Bansley’s split the Torontonian now faces one of the most thrilling one-off matches in Canadian beach volleyball history at 5pm today.

“There was a lot of talk after Rio about them splitting and once everything was finalized with the Swatch World Tour Finals coming to Toronto I finally got the call after hearing about the trial match for the main draw,” explains Melissa. “Then it became very real and I was just planning on finishing my season and preparing for the off-season when I got the call – so I was thinking ‘I’ve got to get started again!’ But it moved so fast, I was so excited and overwhelmed – they are the emotions that come with sport.”

With all the column inches reserved for the ongoing soap opera between Pavan and Bansley, both Melissa and Brandie Wilkerson have remained under the radar.

“It’s been…interesting!” says Melissa with a smile. “It’s something I wouldn’t have turned down. When you are asked by one of the best ever Canadian players and one of the best blockers in the world you say ‘yes’ in a second!

“It’s exciting because I know there’s great potential with this team. This is a long-term partnership that goes beyond this game and this week which is very exciting.”

Sarah is seven years Melissa’s senior and the young star is already enjoying the learning from the experienced Olympic quarterfinalists and Poreč Major silver medalist.

“Sarah’s been extremely welcoming, very kind and offered a lot of guidance,” says Melissa. “She’s helped me along the way but we’ve helped each other and it’s been really easy to click together. It’s exciting to be on the same page as we both share the same goals.

“I’ve had to switch sides which is different and the environment is a little bit different too. Sarah has high expectations on me. She’s a professional athlete, she’s phenomenal, but we both want to win.

“It helps me raise my level and helps me express myself and grow as an athlete – and that’s what attracted me to playing with Sarah. I want to work harder to be the athlete and player I want to be.”

And what of tonight’s game? Nerves? Tension? Sleepless nights?!

“It’s going to be an exciting game,” says the 2014 Rookie of the Year. “I haven’t had any sleepless nights; I just hope we play well. That’s all we can ask from each other. We obviously want to win and have fun and show Toronto some good volleyball!”

Get yourself down to Polson Pier to watch the drama unfold for yourselves – or switch, or swatch, onto our live stream to see the game live on our website!

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