Vienna, Austria, August 5, 2017 - Reigning Olympic champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst won their third major beach volleyball crown here Saturday afternoon as the Germans captured a three-set victory over Lauren Fendrick and April Ross of the United States in the gold medal match at the 2017 FIVB World Championships presented by A1.
Seeded fourth in the competition, Ludwig and Walkenhorst posted a 2-1 (19-21, 21-13, 15-9) win in 64 minutes over the 14th-seeded Fendrick and Ross as both teams entered Saturday’s finale with 7-0 match marks in the 11th of the World Championships that officially began in 1997 and have been held every other year on the FIVB World Tour.
With the win, the Germans shared the $60,000 first-place prize while Fendrick and Ross shared $45,000 for second-place. The gold medal was Ludwig and Walkenhorst’s 10th in 42 FIVB World Tour starts together since forming their partnership in 2013. Of the 10 gold medals, the two major titles were netted in 2016 at the Rio Olympic Games and the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto, Canada.
Ludwig, who was named the Smart Most Valuable Player for the Tournament, and Walkenhorst also become the first women’s team from a European team to win a gold medal at the FIVB World Championships. Women’s pairs from Brazil (five times), the United States (four times) and China (once) have topped the podium at the previous 10 editions of the event.
In the bronze medal match, top-seeded Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil posted a 2-1 (21-12, 16-21, 18-16) win in 59 minutes over seventh-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Canada. The Brazilians shared $35,000 for the third-place finish while the Canadians split $28,000 for fourth-place.
The $1-million FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 will feature four men’s final four matches on Sunday at the state-of-the art venue at Donauinsel in Vienna.
A total of 216 matches are being contested over a 10-day period at the World Championships where 96 teams from 40 countries started competition July 28 with matches on three courts with the final two days of play being played at the 10,000-seat Red Bull Beach Arena.