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2017-08-23 20:36:00 CET

Laura aiming to repay the fans

Golden girls get off to a flyer

Laura Ludwig is hoping to give something back to their fans after a year of wins on the roadLaura Ludwig is hoping to give something back to their fans after a year of wins on the road

Hamburg heroes and defending champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst got off to the perfect start in their defense of their title by crushing Brazilians Larissa Maestrini and Talita Antunes in front of a capacity crowd on the first day of the Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone.

The German Olympic and World champions recorded a comfortable 21-17, 21-19 straight sets win in just 36 minutes against the team they beat to reach the World Championship final in Vienna two weeks ago.

Backed by a passionate crowd inside the Red Bull Beach Arena, Laura is hoping that their performance on home sand can give something back to their legion of fans who haven’t experienced firsthand their success in the sport.

“The crowd is amazing here, last year when we won the Hamburg Major it was the start of something special for us,” said the 31-year-old. “We had two tough games in the semifinals and finals and the home crowd helped then and it will this week.

“In front of the home crowd we want to perform and show them what we are capable of. Last season was the start and especially after those titles it would be special to give something back to them.”

The Germans lost both of their pool play matches 12 months ago at the Toronto Finals before the pair went onto win lift the title – and Kira was delighted to get a win at the first time of asking.

“It’s really important because if you don’t win the pool you have to play three matches on Friday – and you don’t want that!” said the blocker. “The crowd helped – they helped us move towards the ball and for day one it was a pretty special atmosphere.”

Their next match takes place on Thursday against American team Summer/Sweat at 7pm CET on the Red Bull Beach Arena.

There wasn't an empty seat in the house to see Laura and Kira triumphThere wasn't an empty seat in the house to see Laura and Kira triumph

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