15 November 2014

There’s only one speed hump left standing in the way of an all-Australian final in Sunday’s Oceania Women’s Beach Volleyball Championships at Manly Beach – but it’s a big one.

Vanuatu’s Miller Pata and Linline Matauata deserve to start favourites on the final day, even though they came into the weekend as the tournament third seeds.

So far this year Pata and Matauata have beaten the two Australian teams seeded above them at Manly.

They beat top seeds Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy at the World Championships, and second seeds Nikki Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar, at the final of an International event in Hong Kong.

Laird and del Solar will get their chance for revenge in Sunday’s semi-finals, while Bawden and Clancy will take on Adelaide’s Zina Stone and Becchara Palmer in the other semi-final.

Bawden and Palmer were playing partners at the 2012 London Olympics, but split after the Games and are both trying to qualify for Rio in 2016 with new teammates.

In the men’s draw, Australia will take on New Zealand in both semi-finals.

Top seeded Australians Josh Court and Damien Schumann will take on Tom Hartles and Rene Kapa, while Western Australians Casey Grice and Cole Durant will face off against Michael Watson and Sam O’Dea.

The semi-finals start at 9am, with the women’s final at 2pm and the men at 3pm.