Toronto, Canada, September 18, 2016 - Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst capped a “perfect” season of beach Volleyball as the Germans captured the gold medal match at the US$500,000 SWATCHFIVB World Tour Finals here Sunday afternoon on Polson Pier.
With their 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) win in 41 minutes over Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich and Nadine Zumkehr in the women’s finale, the Germans captured the $100,000 first-place prize for their biggest “payday” in four seasons together on the FIVB World Tour.
Sunday’s gold medal match was the fourth-between the two teams with the FIVB World Tour series now tied 2-2. It was also the third FIVB World Tour gold medal meeting between the two countries with Ludwig and Zumkehr being involved in all three. Germany leads 2-1 with both victories this season, including a gold medal win July 30 by Ludwig and Walkenhorst over Heidrich and Zumkehr at the A1 Major Klagenfurt.
Ludwig and Walkenhorst’ “perfect” run featured winning the European Championships in June, the Rio 2016 Olympic gold medal in August and the Germans Championships last weekend before ending their campaign with the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals trophy. With the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour starting last October in Mexico, Ludwig and Walkenhorst also were crowned the international circuit’s points champions.
The SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals started slowly for Ludwig and Walkenhorst as the Germans lost a pair of pool play matches Thursday before rebounding with two elimination rounds Friday before advancing to the finals with a Saturday semi-final win over Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil.
For the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour season, Ludwig and Walkenhorst won gold medals at seven of the 13 events the Germans entered with eight podium placements, nine “final four” finishes, a 69-10 match record and $392,375 in winnings to compile the best-ever international campaign for a men’s or women’s beach volleyball tandem from their country.
Nadine Zumkehr - “We had our chances, in the first set we were close. It was a great set by both teams, good rallies, and all four of us had fun out there. In the second set we let them go a little bit in the beginning and you know them – they’re pretty good. It’s annoying I lost so many times to these girls in my career. But I also have to thank Laura and all the other players out there because they pushed me and made me better. We are very, very proud of this medal. We wanted gold today, we tried hard but they were better and we accept that. Parts of the game were still good and I think even here we showed that we are capable of playing with anyone.”
Laura Ludwig - "It was great to comeback win the trophy after losing our first two matches. We defeated four very great teams to reach the top of podium. It has been a long season with a lot of pressure-packed matches. It was all worth it. Today's gold medal win is special since it validates our work the past four years together. Kira played great and it was great to defeat them today after losing to them Thursday. They had a great season."
Kira Walkenhorst - "I'm tired and I am glad the season is over. Today's win was especially gratifying after losing to the Swiss Thursday. What a special season for us. As for the future, the first thing is to get some rest. Thanks to everyone for their support this year. All the work was worth it."