World’s Best Beach Volleyball Teams hit the Beach for Day 2 of Fort Lauderdale Major
It was a scorcher of a day in Fort Lauderdale, as the world’s top beach volleyball teams headed to the sand for the first day of Pool Play at the Fort Lauderdale Major. As the first event of the Swatch Major Series, advancing through Pool Play is critical for teams to proceed to the elimination rounds and get a chance to win the first big points of the 2017 beach volleyball season.
Amongst many of the new pairings that have been a highlight of this early part of the season, German Olympic Gold Medalist Kira Walkenhorst and her new partner Julia Grossner proved there was no rust in their game as they took on fellow countrymen Teresa Mersmann and Sandra Ittlinger. The match was a breeze for the defending champion Walkenhorst, who used rock solid defense and smart, aggressive play to win in a dominant two sets (21-13; 21-12).
Following the match, Walkenhorst spoke about playing without usual partner Laura Ludwig, who is busy recovering from shoulder surgery. “I’m playing now with Julia Grossner, I’m really happy that we played our first match pretty good. Now, we’re just focusing on ourselves and getting better and better.”
After that early morning action, Brazilian titans Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt took on wildcard Americans Casey Patterson and Theodore Brunner in the first match at Center Court. The crowd was roaring, delighted at the chance to see the defending champions and Olympic Gold medalists from last year. Yet Alison and Bruno started the match a bit slow, and payed the price by losing the first set against their fired up opponents. The second set was a hotly contested affair that went down to the wire, ultimately ending with an upset victory by the ecstatic wildcards (21-14; 22-20).
Excitement was indeed the rule of the land during this second day, promising even more mouthwatering action to come. Tomorrow marks the end of Men’s Pool Play, giving teams a final chance to qualify for the Round of 24, which itself begins in the afternoon (2:30 EST). Already down a game, Alison and Bruno face a must win game against Germany’s Markus Böckermann and Lars Flüggen (9:30 EST).
Meanwhile, Women’s Pool Play will continue, as Brazil’s Larissa and Talita look to bounce back from a surprise defeat and keep their dreams of a championship alive (11:30 EST). Also highlighted will be a battle between Olympic Silver and Bronze medalists. Last summer, Barbara Seixas was part of the team that ended Kerri Walsh-Jennings and April Ross’s quest for gold at the Rio Games. Under the lights of Center Court, Seixas and new partner Fernanda Alves will be looking for a repeat victory; yet Walsh-Jennings and Ross will undoubtedly be looking for a sweet little payback of their own.