Photo: Maximilian HammAlessandro Calbucci and Marco Garavini (ITA)
CERVIA, ITALY: Alessandro Calbucci and Marco Garavini take the men's doubles world title while Sofia Cimatti and Veronica Visani triumph on home soil in the women's event in Cervia, Italy.
A day of incredible emotion for many spectators and athletes came to an end in spectacular fashion. There wasn't a single seat available for both the women's doubles and the men's doubles final with many finding seats in the most imaginative of places just to get a glimpse of the action.
The women's doubles team were first to play on centre court, which numbered at least 2,500 passionate spectators. The third seeded Italians, Veronica Visani and Sofia Cimatti, played eighth seeds Giorgia Gadoni (ITA) and Camilla Ponti (ITA) and as anyone who has been following the tournament knows, the women's seeding was no indication of success as many of the top seeds found themselves going home early.
However, that was not to be the case today as Visani and Cimatti battled, and battled hard, to claim the title in just two sets. Every point was hard-fought and the match ended with both sets going to a tiebreak but ending in favour of Cimatti and Visani 76(2) 76(4). This would be Cimatti's fourth consecutive victory in two days as she won her women's doubles semifinal and her mixed doubles semifinal and final yesterday.
"I really wasn't expecting this after a difficult start to the season, it's been a hard few days but now I am just happy, happy, happy," said Cimatti.
The men's finals saw two of the most consistent teams of the tournament playing each other. Top seeded Italians Alessandro Calbucci and his partner Marco Garavini faced second seeds Michele Cappelletti (ITA) and Luca Carli (ITA) to see who would lift the trophy.
Both teams have been in exceptional form and none would give the title up without a fight. Eventually, Garavini and Calbucci would prove to be too good and would claim their fifth win in a row to end the match 76(7) 60.
Michele Cappelletti said: "It's a great honour to play in the best tournament in the world, unfortunately our opponents were just too good for us today."
Calbucci, evidently emotional, also had time to say a few words: "I feel very proud to finally win here, especially against such great opposition. They (Cappelletti and Carli) are the next generation of beach tennis and will win lots of titles. I want to dedicate this victory to everyone who came to cheer us on today."
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti, who is originally from the region of Romagna, also expressed his delight: "It is fantastic to come home and reward such fantastic players. I feel the same emotion as when I present any of the other major trophies. I want to thank the public for coming and cheering the players on."
There was also space on the podium for third place finishers of the women's doubles and the men's doubles, Italy's Arianna Carli and her teammate Flaminia Daina who won their match 61 60 and Luca Meliconi and Matteo Marighella of Italy who won 63 64.
It was a hard few days for many players, with many leaving the tournament earlier than expected, but many stayed to cheer and congratulate the champions. They will surely already be thinking about next year's competition, knowing that the field will be larger and harder as beach tennis continues to expand and conquer new fans and players in all corners of the world. With what we've seen during this tournament it is easy to understand why the sport is becoming so popular in so many countries.
For full results click here.