European bronze medalists settle for silver at São Paulo Grand Slam
News from the FIVB
São Paulo, Brazil, October 13, 2013. In another classic battle for the ages between veteran warriors, USA’s 10th-seeded April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings overcame their intense struggle with Germany’s fifth-seeded Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst Sunday to claim the women’s gold medal (19-21, 31-29, and 15-12) on the final day at the $440,000 FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam double-gender tournament.
In a dynamic way to launche the newest chapter in their illustrious careers in Beach Volleyball, USA Olympians Ross/Walsh Jennings never gave up and eventually outlasted Germany’s 2013 European bronze medalists Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst in three glorious sets,19-21, 31-29 and 15-12 in 65 exciting minutes, the longest women’s match of the six-day tournament. Both new teams on the FIVB World Tour USA’s Ross/Walsh Jennings leave São Paulo with the gold medal, $33,000 in prize money and a 7-0 record in the tournament while Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst leave Brazil with the silver medal, $22,000 in prize money and a 6-1 record.
This was the first time these two teams have met although with different teammates all have played each other numerous times. As the teams battled ferociously for every point, Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst overcame an 8:13 deficit to defeat the Americans in the first set 21-19. The second set that went overtime was classic textbook as the set was tied 20 times with the last at 29-29 before USA’s Ross/Walsh Jennings won it at 31-29. In the deciding third set, USA’s Ross/Walsh Jennings exploded for the first two points gradually pulling away to 8-4 and 10-5 leads before Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst rallied to close within two at 11-9, but the Americans hung tough and pulled out the set, match and gold medal championship by a three-point margin, 15-12.
The always gregarious Walsh Jennings commented after the awarding ceremony: “It was amazing. I think the final went just like the whole tournament was for us. We had really tough, really close matches. The Germans came out and played amazing. We were expecting that. I’m so glad we didn’t panic and stayed aggressive.”
Teammate April Ross said after her team’s gold medal victory: “Kerri and I approach every tournament in the same way. We’re going to enjoy this until the next tournament, but we’ll be ready to play every point, every game. We respect all of our opponents; we play the hardest we can every match.”
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