Körtzinger/Kunst (GER) vs. Ludwig/Lippmann (GER) - Round 1 #6463406

Lippmann dives to make a play during the qualifier

Hosts Germany will have an additional team in the main draw of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Hamburg Elite16 when it begins on Thursday after Laura Ludwig and Louisa Lippmann succeeded on Wednesday’s qualifier.

The two form one of the four women’s teams that went undefeated in the qualifier and earned the right of competing in the main draw at the iconic Am Rothenbaum Stadium – four men’s duos also moved forward and will complete the 16-team main draw.

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Ludwig and Lippmann’s success was one of the highlights of a surprising women’s qualifier in Hamburg, which saw just one of the four top-seeded duos advance to the main draw. The Germans, who won their first medals as partners less than two weeks ago at the European Championship, were in excellent form on the opening day of the event and topped compatriots Leonie Kortzinger and Lea Kunst 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) and Swiss Olympic medalists Joana Mäder and Anouk Vergé-Dépré also in two sets (21-14, 21-12) to qualify.

"We're happy that everything worked out well for us today," Lippmann reacted. "We found our rhythm from the start and that helped up minimize the impact of the difficult moments we had."

Ludwig, a Rio 2016 Olympic champion and 2017 world champion, and Lippmann, a longtime star in the German volleyball national team, are now set to appear in the main draw of an Elite16 event for the first time in 2023. The two were allocated in Pool B and will face China’s Chen Xue/Xinyi Xia, Brazil’s Ágatha Bednarczuk/Rebecca Cavalcanti and Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes in pool play.

New Zealand’s’ Alice Zeimann and Olivia MacDonald caused the biggest upsets in the qualifier in Hamburg. Playing together for just the third time, the 12th-seeded Kiwis downed Spanish Daniela Álvarez and Tania Moreno 2-1 (12-21, 22-20, 15-13) and Brazilians Tainá Bigi and Victoria Lopes also in the tie-breaker (21-19, 21-23, 15-11) to qualify.

Zeimann/MacDonald (NZL) vs. Tainá/Victoria (BRA) - Round 2 #6469582

Zeimann and MacDonald smile after a successful day in Hamburg

Seeded tenth, French Lézana Placette and Alexia Richard also scored a pair of big wins to move forward in Germany. The two started the day with a straight-set (27-25, 21-16) triumph over Lithuanians Monika Paulikiene and Aine Raupelyte and then stunned Dutch Olympians Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam with a three-set (21-18, 16-21, 15-12) victory.

Top-seeded Italians Marta Menegatti and Valentina Gottardi were able to impose their game over their opponents and also qualified, topping Germans Julia Sude and Isabel Schneider 2-0 (21-11, 21-18) and Poles Jagoda Gruszczynska and Aleksandra Wachowicz also in two sets (21-16, 21-11).

Cottafava/Nicolai (ITA) vs. Métral/Haussener (SUI) - Round 2 #6473217

Cottafava and Nicolai high five after a point in Hamburg

The men’s qualifier in Hamburg had four European teams advancing. One of them was formed by third-seeded Italians Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava, who moved forward after they knocked out Germans Simon Kulzer and Momme Lorenz 2-0 (21-18, 21-10) and topped Swiss Quentin Métral and Yves Haussener also in straight sets and with the same score line (21-18, 21-10).

Fourth-seeded Poles Piotr Kantor and Jakub Zdybek also qualified for the main draw. The two were pushed to the tie-breaker (21-14, 18-21, 15-9) by Swiss Marco Krattiger and Florian Breer in the first round and then handled Italians Daniele Lupo and Enrico Rossi in two sets (30-28, 21-11) in the decisive encounter.

Lupo/Rossi (ITA) vs. Kantor/Zdybek (POL) - Round 2 #6472301

Kantor tries to stop Rossi at the net

Spanish veterans Pablo Herrera and Adrián Gavira had a strong day in Hamburg during the qualifier, overcoming the English Bello twins Javier and Joaquin in straight sets (21-13, 21-19) and beating Brazilians Vitor Felipe and Renato Lima also 2-0 (21-17, 21-14).

The fourth and final main draw spot went to Lithuanians Audrius Knasas and Patrikas Stankevicius, who were the main surprise among the men in the opening day of the event. The Europeans upset Australians Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett with a two-set (24-22, 21-18) victory in their debut and followed it up with another sweep (22-20, 21-18), this one against the home team of Philipp Huster and Simon Pfretzschner, to advance.

Pool play will be held between Thursday and Friday in Hamburg and the top three teams in each pool will move forward in the tournament. The elimination rounds will be played on Saturday, with Round of 12 and quarterfinal encounters, while the semifinals and medal matches end the event in Germany on Sunday.

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