Laura Ludwig with strong comeback in Hamburg – US teams struggling
Reigning world and Olympic champion Laura Ludwig delighted the Hamburg crowds with her comeback in the city where she won the World Tour Finals in 2017. In her first match in the World Championships that started yesterday, Ludwig and her new partner Maggie Kozuch beat AVP Seattle winners and Warsaw silver medalists Larsen/Stockman in two sets (21:19, 21:15). The Americans that seemed somewhat impressed by the local crowds at Hamburg Rothenbaum stadium were at no point able to show the strong game they had been playing in recent weeks. Laura Ludwig after the match:
“Kelly and Emily are a good team, we lost to them in Warsaw, but with the crowd on our side I think that put the pressure on them.”
Some more US teams had quite a rough start in the tournament. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings and her partner Brooke Sweat lost to strong Dutch duo Joy Stubbe and Marleen van Iersel (15:21, 21:19, 9:15). With convincing side-out and a lot of self-confidence the Dutch won the tie-break 15:9.
Sara Hughes and Summer Ross managed a hard-fought three set win against Argentinian underdogs Gallay/Pereyra. In the third set Hughes/Ross had to go into extended points to finally win 16:14. “A-Team” Alix Klineman and April Ross claimed a straight two-set win against Mendoza/Lolette from Nicaragua (21:8, 21:7).
On the men’s side US top teams Nick Lucena/Phil Dalhausser and Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb posted easy wins against low-seeded teams from Argentina and Uruguay. Taylor’s brother Trevor Crabb and his friend and partner Tri Bourne had a tough start against Iranian underdogs Vakili/Salemi where they lost the first set 13:21. Crabb/Bourne could recover and finally defeated the Iranians in three sets (13:21, 21:16, 15:9). Billy Allen and Stafford Slick lost to reigning Olympic champions Alison and his partner Alvaro Filho from Brazil in three sets after a good start in set one (21:19, 15:21, 10:15).
Since some readers reached out to us, here an update on the livestream:
The Beach Major Series BeachStream is only available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH). If you don’t reside in one of those countries, you might still be able to access it using a VPN connection. You can use Zen Mate. Just download it, install it and by chosing Germany as country (available in the free version) everything should work fine. In some countries, the side courts 2 and 3 are also streamed live on the FIVB Youtube channel.