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Year in Review – Ludwig and Kozuch hit the heights at World Tour Finals

Ludwig and Kozuch (centre) celebrate their first World Tour gold together
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 27, 2019 – Laura Ludwig and Margareta Kozuch chose a fitting stage to show the beach volleyball world that they will be challenging for the top honours when they won gold at the Rome 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals. 

Rome 2019 was one of three 5-Star events on the World Tour calendar, along with tournaments in Vienna and Gstaad. 

All three offered $40,000 and 1200 ranking points for the gold medallists, $32,000 and 1080 points for the silver medallists, and $20,000 and 960 points for the bronze medallists. 

In winning the German duo claimed their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour medals of any colour since they teamed up at the start of the year. 

Rome was hosting a World Tour event for the first time since 2013 and the Foro Italico Olympic Park once again proved a fitting backdrop to a top-level competition. 

It is the third time that Ludwig – Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games and Vienna 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships gold medallists – has won World Tour Finals gold having topped the podium alongside Kira Walkenhorst at Toronto 2016 and Hamburg 2017. 

“I actually thought about it during the week, that I had a chance to win the Finals again,” Ludwig said. “But I had to push it away because I didn’t want it taking my control and my focus. Right now, I’m just unbelievably proud of what we did.”

For Kozuch it is her first World Tour gold and comes after they defeated Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda ‘Duda’ Santos Lisboa 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) in the gold medal match. 

Fellow Brazilians Ana Patricia and Rebecca Silva beat Switzerland’s Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 16-14) to win bronze.

Gstaad was the first 5-Star tournament of the season and proved as popular as ever with capacity crowds packing the venue in the Swiss Alps. 

USA’s April Ross and Alexandra Klineman won their second gold of the season and the ever-popular Swiss Cow Bells by defeating Brazil’s Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado 2-1 (15-21, 21-17, 15-12). 

Ana Patricia and Rebecca ensured that there would be another Brazilian team on the podium when they held off local favourites Tanja Huberli and Nadia Betschart 2-0 (21-14, 21-12). 

The Vienna 5-Star picked up where the Vienna 2017 World Championships and 2018 5-Star left off with the action taking place on courts built on The Donauinsel, an island in the middle of the River Danube.

Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan left the Austrian capital with gold after their 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) victory meant Maria Antonelli and Carolina again finished with silver. 

Just like Gstaad and Rome, there was a second Brazil team among the medals after Agatha and Duda secured a 2-0 (31-29, 21-19) victory over compatriots Taiana Lima and Talita Antunes. 

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