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Nina Brunner smiling victoriously

Switzerland’s Nina Brunner and Tanja Huberli and USA’s Kelly Cheng and Betsi Flint will battle it out on Sunday for the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 women’s gold in Hamburg. In Saturday’s semifinals they defeated Brazil’s Barbara Seixas and Carol Solberg and Germany’s Karla Borger and Julia Sude, respectively, who will play each other for the bronze.

· Watch all main draw matches at the Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Hamburg live on Volleyball TV.

Eighth-seeded Brunner and Huberli started their Saturday with a very tight first set in their quarterfinal match against Germany’s Sandra Ittlinger and Isabel Schneider, in which they overcame the opponents’ good serving and, stepping up Huberli’s blocking, came out on top in the overtime. The second set was completely one-sided and the Swiss claimed a 2-0 (22-20, 21-7) win.

In their semifinal later in the afternoon, Brunner and Huberli started off with an emphatic set first set win against the world’s number ones Barbara and Carol, with Huberli continuing to dominate the net with her blocking. The second set, however, offered a fierce battle, which was pushed into overtime, with the European champs once again celebrating a 2-0 (21-13, 23-21) victory and securing their first Elite16 final as well as their second medal at this level, after the Ostrava bronze.

Brunner & Huberli v Barbara & Carol match highlights

“We were always in front in this match and suddenly they had set point and the pressure came out of nowhere somehow,” Huberli told Volleyball World. “The Brazilians are a great team. They are very consistent and having a great season. We’ve already lost too many semifinals, so we couldn’t be any happier now.”

“It’s a great feeling to be in the final! We really wanted this win,” Brunner added. “We are on a good run. We also played well in our pool games. We are so excited and we are hoping for another good match tomorrow.”

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Cheng & Flint celebrate their semifinal win

10th-seeded Cheng and Flint also produced two hard-fought straight-set wins on Saturday to advance to their first Elite16 final. Their best previous result was a fourth place they took in Rosarito. In their quarterfinal, the Americans survived a very tough first set against qualifiers Daniela Alvarez and Tania Moreno, in which the 20-year-old Spaniards pushed them deep into overtime. In the second, Cheng and Flint capitalised on their opponents’ errors to claim a 2-0 (28-26, 21-16) victory.

Then they took on home favourites Borger and Sude. Cheng’s blocking, Flint’s serving and their team’s fewer mistakes were what made the difference in that match. The Americans won by 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) to book a spot in Sunday’s final.

Kelly Cheng's top plays against Borger & Sude

“The crowd is awesome! They cheer for good beach volleyball, so that was fun. We love playing here. It’s been fun so far. We also have some USA fans, so it’s awesome!” Flint exclaimed after the semifinal victory.

“It’s nice to see all the hard work that we’ve been doing paying off. We are excited to get to compete another day and we’ll try to put all the pieces together again tomorrow,” Cheng commented. “Being in the final is super exciting for us. It’s something that we’ve been working towards. We want to do well internationally, because our eyes are set on the Olympics. So we have to be able to play well against the best in the world. And that’s what we are hoping to do tomorrow.”

Sunday’s gold medal match starts at noon local time (10:00 GMT). An hour earlier, the first whistle will sound for the match for third place.