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Polish Kings and German / Swiss Queens reign over Hamburg

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In the first-ever international King of the Court-tournament in Germany Poland’s Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak were crowned as Kings and Laura Ludwig / Anouk Vergé-Dépré ascended the throne as Queens. Sunday’s finals marked the end of a spectacular Hamburg tournament in the Stadion am Rothenbaum next to the Elbe. The crowds were treated to an amazing comeback in the women’s final and they also saw an excellent execution of King of the Court gallery play in the men’s.

Women
Alfred Hitchcock couldn’t have written a more thrilling plot for the final than what actually happened on court in the Hamburg Stadion am Rothenbaum. Five of the best teams playing absolute top-level beachvolleyball.

The 2020 Dutch champions King of the Court Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink are a tough side, but they didn’t score any points in the first round of the final. That’s how stiff the opposition was. In the second round the Norwegians Ingrid Lunde and Emilie Olimstad came up just one point short, so they had to sit the final round out as well.

The last fifteen minutes seemed to go the way of Poland’s Kinga Wojtasik and Katarzyna Kociolek for a long time. Local favorites Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider (who had qualified for the international tournament by winning silver in the German King of the Court on Saturday) weren’t able to get in the mix. Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Swiss Anouk Vergé-Dépré teamed up for this competition, but you would know if you were just seeing them play for the first time. A well-oiled side-out machine.

With three-and-a-half minutes to go the score was: Wojtasik / Kociolek 13, Ludwig / Vergé-Dépré 5. Backed by the fanatic Hamburg crowd they got to the Queen’s side and then they produced some of the best side-out plays ever recorded in King of the Court history. Rainbow shots, cut shots and hammers down the middle, they made them all. In two visits to the Queen’s side they made ten points and that made them Queens of the Court Hamburg 2021 with even twenty seconds to spare.

Final standings:

  1. Laura Ludwig / Anouk Vergé-Dépré (GER/SUI)
  2. Kinga Wojtasik / Katarzyna Kociolek (POL)
  3. Victoria Bieneck / Isabel Schneider (GER)
  4. Ingrid Lunde and Emilie Olimstad (NOR)
  5. Sanne Keizer / Madelein Meppelink (NED)

Men
There was one consistently entertaining and ever-present team these three days in Hamburg. Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak pulled every trick in the book in order to best their opponents. The Polish couple played in every round of every session. So before the final they had played the first phase match, the Thursday play-off, Saturday’s knock-out (which they won), Sunday’s semifinal and the playoff (they won too). So with already eleven rounds of fifteen minutes in the bag they stepped onto court to challenge four royal contenders.

The victims of the first round in the final were the 2018 Utrecht Kings Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira from Spain. In the second round the battle was heated between Marco Krattiger / Moritz Pristauz on one side and German Kings Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler. In the closing seconds of that round the Swiss / Austrian combo pulled through and secured their spot in the final round.

The dark horse and big surprise in the King of the Court Hamburg final were twin brothers Bennet and David Poniewaz. They had qualified for the semifinals of the international tournament by finishing second in the German championships on Saturday. In their semifinal they were on the brink of having to play a play-off match, but Robert Meeuwsen failed to pull the trigger on them. So team Poniewaz, Krattiger / Pristauz and Kantor / Losiak fought for the first-ever title of King of the Court Hamburg.

There was just one team that could claim the title rightfully. Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak immediately built an impressive lead and the German, Swiss and Austrian guys were left deciding over who would end up in second place. With a minute to go Piotr Kantor hit one final hammer past Krattiger and Pristauz to shut the match down. Poland’s pair won their first crown in the second King of the Court tournament they have played.

Final standings:

  1. Piotr Kantor / Bartosz Losiak (POL)
  2. Marco Krattiger / Moritz Pristauz (SUI/AUT)
  3. Bennet and David Poniewaz (GER)
  4. Julius Thole / Clemens Wickler (GER)
  5. Pablo Herrera / Adrian Gavira (ESP)

Utrecht
The King of the Court fun isn’t over yet for this month. In three days the action will commence in Utrecht. Forty of the best beach volleyball teams in the world will travel to the center of the Netherlands to once again play in the corona-proof stadium on the Jaarbeursplein.

If you want to visit Utrecht, buy your tickets now!