28.06.2019 - Hamburg
Reigning champion Laura Ludwig made a victorious return to the Red Bull Beach Arena as the German and teammate Maggie Kozuch rocked the Rothenbaum on the opening day of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Hamburg 2019 presented by comdirect and ALDI Nord.
In front a packed stadium, Ludwig – who won the 2017 title with Kira Walkenhorst – and partner Kozuch were in superb form to beat in-form Americans Kelly Larsen and Emily Stockman in straight sets (21-19, 21-15).
It what was perceived to be the hosts’ toughest match in Pool J, both teams excelled with some breathtaking volleyball.
“It was an amazing feeling,” said Ludwig. “I really had to focus and concentrate to stop myself crying because, I don’t know if it was the hormones, I felt the tears the coming. I needed to make sure the goosebumps were not overwhelming but I managed to stay focused on the court.”
Their victory made-up for disappointment for two German teams that lost on the Red Bull Beach Arena in the two games before the Ludwig/Kozuch battle.
Firstly Philipp Bergmann and Yannick Harms lost in straight sets to Latvia’s Edgars Tocs and Martins Plavins before Viktoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider lost a three-set thriller against Spaniards Liliana and Elsa.
Elsewhere in the mid-afternoon action, second seeds Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl got their World Championships under way with a straight-forward win over Morocco’s Mohamed Abica and Zouheir Elgraoui.