EBTC V - player and flag parade
BORGO MAGGIORE, SAN MARINO: Once again it was the Italians who were victorious, in all events, at the fifth edition of the European Beach Tennis Championships.
Eventual men’s doubles champions, second seeded Marco Garavini and Paolo Tazzari, had met with little resistance, save for their narrow 64 75 semifinal win, as they eased through the draw to reach the final where they faced the defending champions and number one seeds Michele Cappelletti and Luca Carli, who had also enjoyed a comfortable passage through the rounds.
The champions at European Beach Tennis Championships IV in 2011 looked to be on their way to making a successful title defence as they conceded just two games in the opening set but their fellow Italians, winners themselves in 2008, hit back to level the match by taking the second set 63.
This took the final into a deciding set with the winners not only taking the title but also becoming the first pairing to win this title twice. With a lot now at stake, both sets of players fought hard and in the end only a tiebreak could separate them. As the tiebreak ended 7-4 in favour of the challengers, Garavini and Tazzari celebrated an epic victory.
This triumph was all the more special as they could now add the European crown to the World title they won earlier in the year.
The women’s final was also an all-Italian affair as the top two seeds, Federica Bacchetta and Giulia Spazzoli, seeded one and World Champions in 2010, took on the second seeds Simona Bonadonna and Eva D’Elia, beaten finalists in 2011.
Like their male counterparts, the two teams made it to the final without loss of a single set.
It was the second seeds who got off to the better start, racing through the first set 61 and although the top seeds put up more of a fight in the second set it was Bonadonna and D’Elia who took the second set 63 and with it became European Champions for the first time and in doing so put to rest the ghost of their 2011 heartbreak.
A mixed doubles event saw the men’s champions on opposite sides of the net in the final where a 60 62 win saw number one seeds Marco Garavini and Federica Bacchetta triumph over Paolo Tazzari and Eva D’Elia, the second seeds.
The play-offs for third and fourth place saw teams from Slovenia and Russian emerging victorious in straight sets. In the men’s event Urban Cevka and Bostjan Repansek won 63 60 over Spaniards Roman Dopico-Rodriguez and Antomi Ramos-Viera whilst in the women’s event third place was claimed by Irina Bulykina and Gulnara Fattakhetdinova who triumphed over a team from Spain, winning 64 62 against Pilar Escandell and Rosa Sitja.
The tournament also witnessed some great performances from other nations particularly debutants Hungary whose men’s team of Attila Bozsik and Peter Hatala reached the third round as did two of the host nation’s men’s teams. San Marino also caused the biggest upset of the opening round when Alice Grandi and Camilla Zafferani rallied from losing the opening set 61 to eliminate the number five seeds from Germany Maraike Biglmaier and Carina Burk in the women’s event.
European Beach Tennis Championships VI will take place in Great Britain who will be taking over as host nation for the next two years.