Photo: Dennis G. IljushenkovBeach Tennis World Team Championship 2012
MOSCOW, RUSSIA : The final of the inaugural ITF Beach Tennis World Team Championship saw the top two seeded nations, Italy (1) and Brazil (2), take to centre court to do battle for the title. Both nations came into the final on the back of strong performances in their ties over the duration of the tournament with neither having yet dropped a match.
As the music played out across the arena, crowds packed the stands and TV cameras surrounded the court, the ladies were the first to hit the sand. The highly decorated team of Simona Briganti and Laura Olivieri got the Italians off to a perfect start with an early over 4-0 lead over Samantha Barijan and Joana Cortez.
Breaking the Italian serve in the fifth it was clear the Brazilians would not give up the set without a fight. But their fight was in vain as the current world champions and world number ones from Italy refused to let the ball hit the sand as they broke back to take the set 62.
A team talk from captain Guilherme Prata seemed to do the trick in the second set as the Brazilians broke the Italy in the first game and found themselves 4-2 up with double break point. Unable to capitalise, the Brazilians did not see another game point as the Italians raised their game to claim the match 62 64.
With the Italians up 1-0 in the tie their men's doubles team could now secure the title for the pre-tournament favourites.
From the start Alessandro Calbucci and Luca Meliconi looked inspired. Covering the court with apparent ease they parried every attack the Brazilians threw at them and attacked at every opportunity.
There was simply no response to the Italian’s faultless performance as they took the first set 61. The Brazilians knew that they had to continue to play aggressive beach tennis in the second set. Despite firing a tirade of smashes at their opponents, the Italians could not be broken.
A strong and valiant performance by the Brazilians was countered by an opposition in a class of their own on the day as the Italian men sealed the match 61 61 and wrapped up the tie to confirm Italy as the champions.