Defending European, World, and Olympic beach volleyball champion Kira Walkenhorst played her first final on Sunday with her interim partner Leonie Kortzinger on the German Beach Tour. The duo lost to veterans Melanie Gernert and Elena Kiseling in the final of the tournament in Dusseldorf, which is the 2nd stop on the 8 stop tour.
Walkenhorst/Kortzinger, who were the tournament’s top seeds, lost 0-2 (17-21, 14-21) to the #3 seeds Gernert/Kiesling on Sunday. The pair was previously undefeated in the tournament, beating the #16, #8, #12, and #9 seeds, in that order, in a relatively-easy path to the final. In fact, in a 16-seed field, they had the easiest schedule of any team until that final matchup.
Walkenhorst chose the 21-year old Kortzinger as her partner for the summer while her full-time teammate Laura Ludwig sits the year out to give birth to her first child. Ludwig is full term and is on final watch for her first child, which could come any day.
Walkenhorst, who herself is recovering from injury, returned to training in late April. Because Kortzinger is the taller of the two players, she’s taking the blocker position while Walkenhorst is playing defender – the opposite position from what she’s used to when she plays with Ludwig.
Earlier this month, in Munster, Walkenhorst and Kortzinger were the 9th seed entering the tournament, and wound up losing both of their pool play matches to #8 seed Karnbaum/Niemczyk and #16 seed Peter/Sperl.
The duo are planning to focus on the German tour this summer, though they’ve not committed to a specific number of stops. The tour will next move on to Kuehlungsborn, a town with 8,000 residents in the far north of the country, from July 13th-15th.