Olympic Champions become World Champions

Courtesy of Beach Volleyball World Champs – Media Service

Gold medalists Kira Walkenhorst and Laura Ludwig of Germany at the Award Ceremony during the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria on August 5, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Michael Kunkel/ Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series/ Red Bull Content Pool

German duo add FIVB Beach Volleyball title to growing list of achievements.

 

Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst enjoyed a stunning comeback win against America to add the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship title to their gold medal from Rio 2016.

Lauren Fendrick and April Ross clinched a tight first set 21-19 but the German pair, who were only playing their fourth tournament together this year after an injury-hit season, were simply too good in the final two sets taking them 21-13, 15-9.

Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany compete against Lauren Fendrick and April Ross of the United States during the Final of the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria on August 5, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Joerg Mitter/ Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series/ Red Bull Content Pool

The victory in front of a capacity Red Bull Beach Arena crowd will live long in the memory for the team who dominated 2016 by winning the Olympics, Swatch World Tour, European and National titles.

“It’s unbelievable, I still can’t realize what we’ve achieved in the last 10 days” said Walkenhorst afterwards. “We have not had an easy preparation – we’ve had some issues but we’ve always believed in ourselves.”

Ludwig added: “The crowd were helping us a lot, they were definitely the third player on the court for us. It gave us goosebumps.”

America looked on course for a major upset before the Germans battled back to level the score with an impressive mix of defense and attack.

Laura Ludwig of Germany seen during the Final of the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria on August 5, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Joerg Mitter/ Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series/ Red Bull Content Pool

The deciding set was tense and close early on before Ludwig and Walkenhorst showed their experience by increasing the pressure at the vital moment to build an unassailable lead.

Ross said: “I’ve always thought we had this potential, but could have played better in the final. I wish we would have played a little better but I’m going to come away thinking this was a really good experience.”

Brazilian number one seeds Larissa Maestrini and Talita Antunes came back from five points down in a thrilling final set to beat Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes to the bronze medal 21-12, 16-21, 18-16.

Larissa Franca Maestrini and Talita Da Rocha Antunes of Brazil celebrate during the Bronze Medal Match of the the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria on August 5, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Martin Steinthaler/ Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series/ Red Bull Content Pool

On the penultimate day of the men’s competition, the history-making Austrian duo stole the show once again in front of their home fans.

Home heroes Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst fought back after the heartbreak of losing the opening set 31-33 to knock out Polish pair Piotr Kantor and Bartotz Losiak.

Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst of Austria compete against Piotr Kantor of Poland during the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria on August 5, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Martin Steinthaler/ Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series/ Red Bull Content Pool

No Austrian team has ever gone this far in the competition and after their miraculous 31-33, 21-18, 15-11 comeback was complete, they now face Russians Nikita Liamin and Viacheslav Krasilnikov in the semi-final.

In the second semi-final the last remaining Brazilian team, André Loyola Stein and Evandro Gonçalves Oliveira Júnior, take on Dutch wildcards Maarten van Garderen and 2013 silver medalist Christiaan Varenhorst for a place in the final.

The semi-finals start at 10am CET before the grand finale at 3pm CET.

Nikita Liamin and Viacheslav Krasilnikov of Russia celebrate during the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria on August 5, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Martin Steinthaler/ Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series/ Red Bull Content Pool

 

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