WA’s Paul Burnett and teammate Chris McHugh are just one win away from achieving Commonwealth Games gold after cruising through their semi-final, winning 2-0.
The Aussie pair found themselves up against Rwanda’s Venuste Gatsinzi and Olivier Ntagengwa in the semifinals of the men’s beach volleyball at Smithfield on Saturday.
Although strong serves and hard-hitting spikes got the Aussies off to a great start with an early lead, Rwanda came firing back to trail by just one point at the first technical time-out.
The pool stage rematch was incredibly even with both teams matching each other point for point in the midst of dynamic rallies.
However, McHugh and Burnett held on to win the first set 21-18, with Burnett managing three successful attacks and three service aces while McHugh racked up eight spikes and three blocks.
McHugh and Burnett continued building momentum early on in the second set, racking up four points until a successful block from Gatsinzi saw Rwanda finally respond.
Despite some fightback from the Rwandans, Australia held strong to maintain a three-point lead, including an impressive spike down the line by McHugh.
Australia soon began taking control of the match, extending their lead in their bid to produce another straight sets victory, prompting the Rwandans to call for a time-out.
The time-out seemed to work in Rwanda’s favour, returning to the court and fighting back in a big way.
However, McHugh and Burnett held strong with Burnett producing a service ace to win the second set 21-14, winning the match in straight sets and punching in their ticket to the gold medal match taking place on Sunday.