Mersmann and Tillman claim top podium spot in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan, July 29, 2018 – Germany’s Teresa Mersmann and Cinja Tillman topped the women’s podium in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Tokyo 3-star, with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-17) win over Finland’s Taru Lahti-Liukkonen and Aniina Parkkinen in the final on Sunday.

Lahti and Parkkinen started strong in the first set, but the momentum shifted in favour of Mersmann and Tillman with the Germans earning a two-point cushion at 17-15. The Finns fought back and levelled the score once more at 17-all from Lahti’s block. The teams were level at 20-all again, but the Germans raced on to gain the two-point edge to win the first set 22-20.

In the second set, the Finnish pair again began well, but errors allowed the German duo to tie the score at 5-all. Tillman led her side in attacking the defence of Lahti and succeeded to gain the upper hand at 8-6. The Germans made a run to gain an edge and guarded it well until they scored the final point that sealed their gold medal victory at 20-17.

“It was an unbelievable win,” Mersmann said. “It’s such an honour to win in Tokyo. It was a tough game and we felt really tired, but I’m just thrilled that we won this match.”

“It was a tough match, but we had a lot of fun,” Tillman added. “It was nice to play here and we would like to come play again.”

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Japanese duo Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii delivered an astonishing performance in front of their home fans to capture the bronze medals. Murakami and Ishii defeated Norway’s Ingrid Lunde and Oda Johanne Ulveseth 2-1 (21-18, 21-17).

Lunde and Ulveseth had a 6-0 start, as their rivals struggled with ball handling errors. Ishii had a string of service winners, while Murakami scored on well-placed spikes that reduced the lead of their rivals to one point at 18-17. The Japanese side eventually snatched the lead and a couple of side-outs helped them complete their takeover at 21-18.

Murakami’s good service game and great patience in defence in the second set lifted them to gain the upper hand at 13-12. From that point, the Japanese side never looked back and secured their bronze medals with a 21-17 finish.

“We played a great Norwegian team,” Ishii said. “They had height and speed, so we had to change our strategy from defence to offence, and that worked well.”

“We played three matches today and this was the toughest, but the fans helped us play well in this game,” Murakami said.


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