2018-12-30 10:00:00 CET

Brandie and Bansley lead the way

Canadians stars end 2018 number one in the world

Brandie and Heather were in brilliant form throughout 2018Brandie and Heather were in brilliant form throughout 2018

1 Wilkerson/Bansley (Canada) 5,660 points

Ending the calendar year in pole position are Canadians Brandie and Heather who enjoyed a stunning 12 months together on the sand. Three gold medals – including a first ever as a team in Warsaw – were the obvious highlights of a breakthrough season together, but the pair also picked up one silver and two bronzes (one which came at the Swatch Major Gstaad) as they soared their way to top spot.

2 Agatha/Duda (Brazil) 5,480 points

The World Tour Finals champions go into 2019 in second place in the rankings, helped by a season on the sand that ended with the brilliant Brazilians taking the World Tour Finals crown. That triumph saw Duda write herself into the history books as the youngster winner of the title. The duo also scooped gold on home sand in Itapema back in May and narrowly missed out on a podium place in both Gstaad and Vienna before their win in Hamburg.

3= Pavan/Humana-Paredes (Canada) 5,440 points

It was a 2018 to remember for Canadians Sarah and Melissa as the pair won Commonwealth Games gold in April. They followed that success up with a string of consistent results – only finishing outside of the top 10 once in 10 World Tour tournaments. Their biggest success of 2018 came at the Swatch Major Gstaad where they secured a golden cowbell for the first time in their careers.

3= Hermannová/Sluková (Czech Republic) 5,440 points

World Tour Finals runners-up Barbora and Marketa enjoyed a hugely successful year that led them to two gold medals – their first since 2016. Their first came on home sand in the four-star tournament in Ostrava but their victory at the Vienna Major was undoubtedly the Czech team’s biggest achievement to date.

5 Barbara/Fernanda (Brazil) 5,420 points

The Brazilians got the year off to a flyer with gold in Fort Lauderdale before making it back-to-back titles when winning on US sand once more at Huntington Beach. The South American duo featured in the least amount of tournament than any other team in top 20, but their performances in the eight events were still good enough to warrant solid point scores, including a silver medal in Vienna.

Carol and Maria were one of the most consistent teams on the sand during 2018Carol and Maria were one of the most consistent teams on the sand during 2018

6 Maria Antonelli/Carol (Brazil) 5,280 points

The third Brazilian team in the top 10, Maria and Carol rose up the rankings in 2018 thanks to a host of top 10 World Tour finishes. While the duo never reached the top of podium during the year, they still took home three silver medals and were regular quarter and semi-finalists. Their solid form booked them a place at the World Tour Finals where they missed out on a medal in the bronze medal match.

7 Klineman/Ross (USA) 4,960 points

It was a good first year for Alix and April – which began in style as the Americans battled through qualification to win gold in their first tournament in the Netherlands in January. A number of fifth places followed – including in Gstaad and Vienna – before the pair’s 2018 finished how it started, when they secured gold in the four-star event in Yangzhou in October.

8 Laboureur/Sude (Germany) 4,920 points

The top-ranked German team of 2018, Chantal and Julia ended the year inside the top 10 despite not standing on the top of the podium. That’s not to say they didn’t enjoy success. The pair won back-to-back silver medals, one of which came in Gstaad. They had home advantage for the World Tour Finals in Hamburg but were eliminated by eventual champions Agatha/Duda.

9 Clancy/Artacho Del Solar (Australia) 4,840 points

A new team for 2018, the pair began their partnership at the end of 2017 with back-to-back golds but their calendar year was just as successful as they won gold in Lucerne in May and Espinho in early July. The Aussies also won a silver medal at their home Commonwealth Games in April and ended their year with an excellent bronze medal at the World Tour Finals in Hamburg.

10 Hughes/Summer (USA) 4,760 points

In at number 10, another new American partnership that has enjoyed a solid 2018. Sara and Summer enjoyed big success on their domestic AVP tour and also managed to mix it with the best internationally. The pair secured their first World Tour medal together when finishing third in Espinho in July before going onto scoop gold in Moscow in August, leaving the impression that much more is to come in 2019.

Movers and shakers

Dutch duo Sanne Keizer and Madelin Meppelink ended 2018 just outside the top 10 but can take huge confidence from their first season together. The pair not only won the European Championship on home sand but also took a bronze medal home from the Vienna Major.

With Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst out of action, many German teams stepped up to the plate, including rising stars Kim Behrens and Sandra Ittlinger, who achieved a host of top 10 finishes throughout the year.

Another interesting partnership to return to action in 2018 were Italians Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth. The latter had been off the court since 2016 but returned to win her first tournament back in Agadir in July and then finished a respectable ninth in Vienna.

Where did your favorite team end 2017? Click here to find out the full FIVB World Ranking.

Summer Ross and Sara Hughes ended 2018 with a gold medalSummer Ross and Sara Hughes ended 2018 with a gold medal

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