Seeded in seventh in the US$800,000 event presented by vodafone, Artacho and Clancy posted a 2-0 (21-16, 21-19) win over sixth-seeded Humana-Paredes and Pavan in a 36-minute Pool B match at Rothenbaum Stadium where three other women’s contests were played Wednesday.
On April 12 in the finale of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Artacho and Clancy dropped a 2-0 (21-19, 22-20) decision in 41 minutes to Humana-Paredes and Pavan to disappoint their Australian family, friends and fans.
“At the Commonwealth Games, the pressure was 10 times more,” said the 24-year old Artacho, who is playing her first full-season with Clancy. “it’s always going to be a tough game against them but yes, we knew they had one on us so maybe they had a little more pressure than us. The start today was very crucial, and you’ve got to start strong or else you find yourself catching up on every single point.”
For the 26-year old Clancy, who has won four FIVB World Tour gold medals this season with Artacho for the most titles by any men’s or women’s team in Australian international Beach Volleyball history, she said “to be honest, I wasn’t thinking too much about the Commonwealth Games. We’re still a fresh team and so any moment we can play the top teams in the world, we really relish them and take those opportunities when we get them. it’s never easy when you’re battling the top teams in the world.”
With Artacho captured FIVB under-23 world championship with Nicole Laird in 2014, Clancy competed in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Louise Bawden where the pair placed fifth after being eliminated by Americans April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings.
The other Pool B contest Wednesday will be next-to-last match on opening day schedule with third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa of Brazil playing ninth-seeded Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany. Agatha and Duda place second in last season’s World Finals by losing the gold medal match to Germany’s Olympic and world champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst.
In Pool A matches Wednesday, fourth-seeded Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado of Brazil defeated 10th-seeded Sara Hughes/Summer Ross of the United States 2-0 (24-22, 21-18) in 41 minutes while fifth-seeded Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson of Canada posted a 2-0 (21-19, 21-15) victory in 35 minutes over eighth-seeded and European champions Sanne Keizer/Madelein Meppelink of The Netherlands.
Women’s pool play continues through Saturday morning with six group matches Thursday. The women’s semi-finals and medal matches will be played Sunday where the winning team shares the $150,000 first-place prize. The men’s “final four” matches will be played Saturday.