2016-11-10 15:00:00 CEST
Packed crowds wowed by German golden girls!
It only seems like yesterday that we were preparing for the first Swatch Major Series stop of the 2016 season back in June – so excuse us if we feel a little bit strange referring to it in the past tense on this throwback Thursday!
Hamburg’s addition to the Swatch Major Series family was welcomed with open arms and thousands upon thousands of beach fans squeezed into the iconic tennis venue, the Rothenbaum, in northern Germany to witness a spectacular week of top-class beach volleyball.
And the capacity crowds certainly didn’t go home disappointed as the German teams performed brilliantly.
One of the first success stories came in the qualification stage as Lorenz Schümann and Julius Thole defied the odds to book a place in the main draw having been backed by the roaring fans on the side courts.
The bouncing atmosphere of the crowd was the talk of the town and the noise and passion from the stands transferred to the sand as German victories continued to roll in.
It would have been easy to get carried away in the emotion of the tournament and forget about an even more vital side story to the smart Major Hamburg: the event was the final one on the FIVB World Tour that counted towards priceless Olympic qualification points.
That led to drama by the bucket-load as teams desperately battled for victories. Mexican team Virgen/Ontiveros came from nowhere to realize their Olympic dream, while the draw threw up a winner-takes-all clash between two German teams that saw Böckermann/Flüggen prevail against Matysik/Erdmann.
As the smart Major Hamburg entered its enthralling knockout stages as the weekend approached, the action really began to hot up – and on the Saturday, all eyes were on German girls Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst.
The Hamburg duo had dreamt of winning gold in their home tournament before the competition started. And, after an epic victory over American superstars April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings, they were now just one win away from a realizing their goal.
Come the time of the final against Brazilians Agatha/Barbara, the Center Court was absolutely packed and bathed in sunshine. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house and Laura and Kira had the 8,000 fans off their feet in delirium at the end as the Germans took a thrilling final set to clinch gold! It was a perfect day for the home team.
Amid the celebrations – and noise and partying and champagne – we had to prepare ourselves for the men’s final day on Sunday.
The story of the final day of the tournament was the sensational performance of American heroes Nick Lucena and Phil Dalhausser. Firstly, the pair dumped reigning World Champions Alison/Bruno out of the competition at the semifinal stage. The duo then went one step further by blitzing the Netherlands’ Alex Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen in a crushing performance in a one-sided final.
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