Flavia Muniz (BRA) and Maria Buuts (ARU)
HERMOSA BEACH, CA, USA: The residents of Hermosa Beach turned out to support local favourites Mark Bonfigli and Marisa Mora who enjoyed a good run in their respective men’s and women’s doubles events with both earning a quarterfinal finish but ultimately it was players at the top of the rankings who walked away with the titles.
Brazilian players have been enjoying a great deal of success during 2013 and this was to continue in both finals at this G1 tournament.
Current joint World No. 8 ranked player Flavia Muniz of Brazil, along with her partner Maria Buuts of Aruba, made a successful defence of their 2012 title but not without first surviving a first set scare. Their French opponents, Pauline Bourdet and Magali Garnier, took the opening set with the loss of just two games and looked good to press on for title as they opened up a 2-0 lead in the second set. Muniz and Buuts, however, fought back and drew level in the match, eventually winning a closely fought set 64.
The deciding set was, much like the first, a one-sided affair although this time it was not the French pairing who came out on top. Conceding only one game, sandwiched between two runs of three consecutive game wins, Muniz and Buuts wrapped up a 26 64 61 victory to continue the recent success rate of Brazilian players.
Speaking with The Beach Reporter website, Buuts, winning a final for the first time since capturing the 2012 title here, said: “The first set we weren’t playing bad, but we weren’t awake. We weren’t moving, and when the second set came along we were ready to fight a bit more. When we started to gain momentum we really believed that we were going to win. We fought for every point and when we won the second set our confidence had us ready to go again.”
“We played a lot of the same teams, but this year we had experience,” Muniz, one of three Brazilians in an otherwise Italian dominated World Top 10, added. “We had a lot of confidence and we were relaxed. It is difficult for us to play together all the time because she lives in Aruba and I live in Brazil.”
In the men’s event, Italian Alex Mingozzi and his Brazilian partner Vinicius Font defeated joint World No. 1 and reigning World and European Championship winner Alessandro Calbucci and his partner, Niccolo Strano, to take the title.
Their 62 63 defeat of the all-Italian pairing enabled Font to avenge his defeat at the hands of Calbucci in the 2012 final, although last year both were with different partners.
Following his Hermosa Beach title win Alex Mingozzi told The Beach Reporter website: “The game was very hard and the level of play on the court was very high. On this court there were four of the best six players in the world. Also I love the sand here. The game came from Italy but we don’t play on sand this deep.”
Speaking of his title winning partner, Mingozzi added: “This is the third time [Font and I have] played together. We have a really good friendship. At the end we played our best under pressure.”
Vinicius Font, the highest ranking Brazilian male player in the game said: “I know I had to work a lot to get to their level, that’s what I did today. It felt really great today; it’s amazing. To be able to beat a top-ranked player every once in a while is a great thing.”
“Playing with a top player helps a lot and from now on I’m going to keep working my butt off as I do every day,” Font continued. “I’ve been playing for three and a half to four years. I was a tennis and volleyball player so this was just very natural for me.”