Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 13, 2016 - Now that Laura Ludwig has reached the Olympic quarter-finals for the second-straight Beach Volleyball quadrennial, can she and Kira Walkenhorst become the first women’s team from Germany to compete in a “Summer” Games semi-finals?
The answer to that question will be Sunday when Ludwig and Walkenhorst are challenged by Canadians Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan in one of four women’s quarter-final matches at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with the winning team advancing to Tuesday’s semi-finals to meet an opponent from Brazil, The Netherlands or Switzerland. The Canadians have won four of the five international meeting with Ludwig and Walkenhorst.
To reach the quarter-finals, Ludwig and Walkenhorst posted their fourth-straight win the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the 12,000-seat “Coliseu on Copacabana” by eliminating Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland 2-0 (21-19, 21-10) in 36 minutes.
The first set featured nine ties and four lead changes, Ludwig and Walkenhorst held a 15-11 lead before the Swiss scored eight of the next nine points to take a 19-18 advantage. A successful attack by Ludwig tied the set with a Walkenhorst block and attack putting a “W” in the German column. The second set was all Germany as Ludwig and Walkenhorst led 5-2, 10-4, 15-6 and 19-9 at the side-switches.
The win was the fifth-straight international victory for the German pair in as many meetings with Forrer and Verge-Depre, including a March 9 triumph over the Swiss tandem in pool play at the Rio Grand Slam on Copacabana. The two teams also played a quarter-final match July 29 at the A1 Major Klagenfurt in Austria with Ludwig and Walkenhorst winning in three sets.
Four years ago in London, Ludwig and Sara Goller Niedrig failed in their bid for an Olympic “final four” berth by losing a quarter-final match to Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca of Brazil in two sets. At the Beijing 2008 Summer Games, Ludwig and Goller Niedrig placed ninth after being eliminated by the Schwaiger sisters (Doris and Stefanie) of Austria in three sets.