Ludwig/Walkenhorst favourites at the ever popular Phuket Open
Phuket, Thailand, October 29, 2013 – Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst are favourites in Phuket for the penultimate FIVB Beach Volleyball Open of 2013. One of the most popular venues on the FIVB circuit, the Open series women’s event is back in Thailand for an eighth consecutive year.
Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst come towards the end of a successful first season together and become the top seeded pair in Phuket after Brazil’s Talita Da Rocha Antunes and Taiana Lima pull out due to injury. Taking home bronze in Xiamen and silver at the two Grand Slams before that, gold has yet eluded the German pair.
USA fields three teams in the main draw, April Ross and Jennifer Fopma, Brooke Sweat and Jennifer Kessy and Emily Day and Summer Ross. The teams have had a little mix around for Phuket, but each is capable of posing a threat and progressing through the rounds.
Challengers also include Brazilian’s Maria Clara Salgado Rufino and Carolina Solberg Salgado who have gone from strength to strength this season after a year apart in 2012 for Carol’s maternity leave. They have racked up one gold, two silver and two bronze Grand Slam medals already this year and the pair took bronze in Phuket in 2010.
Agatha Bednarczuk and Maria Antonelli already claimed one silver and one bronze Grand Slam medal this year in South America. Agatha will be aiming for similar success in Thailand with Antonelli as last year, when she claimed bronze at the Bangsaen Open with former partner Barbara Seixas.
Local’s Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee aim for a top ten finish in Phuket after posting their best ever result here in 2011 with 13th.
Thailand has hosted over 10 women’s and one men’s FIVB tournament. Overall, the USA has been the most successful with 10 medal finishes in the seven FIVB World Tour events held in Phuket.
The tournament previously ran from 2006 until 2011, when the event moved to Bangsaen in 2012. China’s Chen Xue and Zhang Xi won the 2011 edition, while Jennifer Kessy and April Ross were victorious in 2012.
Phuket is an island located to the south of Thailand, while the city of Phuket is the island’s capital and home to 75,000 people. It is located 825 kilometres from Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.
This will be the eighth successive year that Thailand has staged an Open series women’s event on the FIVB calendar.