11.06.2019 - Hamburg
Sandra Ittlinger/Chantal Laboureur – Germany (1)
Laboureur: 5th (2017), 17th (2015)
Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth – Italy (24)
Team: 9th (2015)
Menegatti: 9th (2011), 5th (2013), 9th (2015), 37th (2017)
Orsi Toth: 37th (2011), 9th (2015)
Nicole McNamara/Megan McNamara – Canada (34)
Patricia Caballero/Michelle Valiente – Paraguay (43)
Team: 37th (2013)
Caballero: 37th (2013)
Valiente: 37th (2013)
Chantal Laboureur, who enjoyed a superb run with Julia Sude, heads for her home World Champs with one of last season’s rising stars in Sandra Ittlinger, in front of her. Can the new duo get up and running in what could be a tricky pool? Italians Marta and Viktoria hit the ground running late last season after being reunited following the latter’s return from suspension. Young twin sisters Megan and Nicole have little World Tour experience but have already shown their ability on the US college circuit, while Paraguayans Patricia and Michelle are the complete outsiders of the party out to cause an upset or two.
The clash between the Germans and Italian should definitely be one not to be missed it what could turn out to be the game that decides who tops the group. If both teams go into the match without winning both of their previous matches it could prove a real fight. Monday, July 1, 8.30pm CET. Red Bull Beach Arena.
Canadians Megan and Nicole will be the fifth ‘sister act’ to take part in the World Championships, following in the footsteps of Lina and Petia Yanchulova of Bulgaria, Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger (Austria), Caroline and Maria Clara Salgado (Brazil) and Emilia and Erika Nystrom (Finland) as sisters who have appeared in previous championships.
Marketa Sluková/Barbora Hermannová (Czech Republic) (2)
Team: 9th (2015)
Sluková: 17th (2011), 17th (2013), 17th (2015), 9th (2017)
Hermannová: 37th (2013), 33rd (2015), 9th (2017)
Katarzyna Kociolek/Kinga Wojtasik (Poland) (20)
Kociolek: 37th (2013)
Wojtasik: 9th (2013), 17th (2015)
Tina Graudina/Anastasija Kravcenkova (Latvia) (31)
Leonie Körtzinger/Sarah Schneider (Germany) (39)
Officially the best team of the qualification phase, Czech pair Hermannová/Sluková aim to vastly improve on their ninth place last time out. They won silver in Hamburg at last year’s World Tour Finals and face opposition that only have three World Championship appearances between them. Polish hopes will be pinned on Kociolek/Wojtasik but can the consistent Poles get the better of two exciting young teams? Latvia’s Graudina/Kravcenkova have already beaten some big names in the game in such a short space of time, while Körtzinger/Schneider have plenty of World Tour experience at a lower level and will have the advantage of home support behind them.
If Körtzinger/Schneider need a victory to ensure a place in the knockout phase then their final game will be an absolute must-see. That’s likely to be against their fellow debutants from Latvia, and, if that is the case, this match-up could also be a belter from a technical point of view. Körtzinger spent last season playing with ex-champ Kira Walkenhorst so expect to see the odd flash of brilliance at the net from the young blocker. Monday, July 1, 2pm CET. Red Bull Beach Arena.
Latvia’s Tina Graudina, 21, was voted the FIVB’s Rookie of the Year last season. With Hamburg teammate Anastasija she won the European Under-22 championships in 2016 and with Paula Neciporuka won the European Under-18 title.
Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson (Canada) (3)
Team: 5th (2017)
Bansley: 17th (2011), 17th (2013), 5th (2015), 5th (2017)
Wilkerson: 5th (2017)
Anouk Vergé-Dépré/Joana Heidrich (Switzerland) (32)
Team: 9th (2017)
Vergé-Dépré: 17th (2013), 33rd (2015), 9th (2017)
Heidrich: 17th (2013), 17th (2015), 9th (2017)
Kim Behrens/Cinja Tillmann (Germany) (23)
Camila Bausero/Maria Rotti (Uruguay) (44)
Can Canada’s Bansley/Brandie combination go beyond the quarter-finals this year? The duo finished fifth in 2017, in what was their first full season together, and since Vienna the pair have gone onto win a number of top events to firmly establish themselves as one of the world’s top teams. They won’t have it all their own way in Pool C, however, with Swiss stars Anouk and Joana enjoying a better head-to-head record against the Canadians in previous meetings. Kim Behrens enjoyed a fine season last year with Sandra Ittlinger and with new partner Cinja Tillmann, they could spring a surprise for the hosts. Camila and Maria will make their World Tour debuts, and at just 20 and 22 years old, the Uruguayans will go into the tournament having the unknown factor on their side.
The match between Canada and Switzerland is an obvious choice, especially given Vergé-Dépré and Heidrich hold the better record in past matches between the two teams. It promises to be an exciting and technically fascinating battles between two of the world’s top pairings. Sunday, July 30, 2pm CET. Court 2.
Kim Behrens and Cinja Tillmann are the third highest German ranked women’s team out of six in Hamburg. That’s down in no small part to both players’ performances on the World Tour with previous partners last season. Kim achieved a host of top-10 finishes at four and five-star tournaments, while Cinja, with three different partners, found the podium in one, two and three-star tournaments.