Photo: James JordanEBTC 2013
BRIGHTON, GREAT BRITAIN. The day got off to a grey start on the British coast but things soon brightened up as British crowds were treated to world class beach tennis with the hosts proving that they can compete with the best on the International stage.
In the men’s draw James McCabe and Richard Wheeler of Great Britain defeated the 15th seeded team from Lithuania of Artiom Ivancov and Mikhail Volkovich in hard fought 76 (5) 63 match.
They will now face a much harder test against the French national champions and third seeded team of Patrice Bang and Pascal Herve for a place in the quarterfinals but will be feeling confident with home support on their side.
Their female compatriots Kim Roberts and Gemma Sgariglia stepped onto centre court to defeat the Dutch team of Jolanda Mens and Margot Van Doorn in an enthralling match 76(5) 26 [10-4].
They will now face a greater challenge against a German team which dispatched of the fifth seeds earlier in the day.
The other British teams put on strong performances in front of considerable home support but were unable to overcome their opponents and will now continue the Championships in the consolation event.
In the men’s draw the top seeds and recently crowned World Champions Marco Garavini and Alessandro Calbucci of Italy made it safely through at the expense of a Greek team whilst their compatriots and second seeds Luca Carli and Michele Cappelletti also came through a close match against a Spanish challenge.
A tough men’s draw for Spain sees their top pair now face the top Italian pair in the second round for a repeat of the World Team Championship a month ago which Calbucci and Garavini won 63 16 in a fine display of beach tennis.
In the ladies event both Italian teams made it through to the last 16 with the top seeds Eva D’Elia and Giulia Curzi receiving a bye to face a Ukraine team of Veronika Kompanets and Iryna Matiychyk for a place in the quarterfinals.
The Russians look very strong with both ladies teams safely through as Ekaterina Kirgizova and Natalya Sizonenko overcame the sixth seeds from Bulgaria while the Germans are always a threat with both teams still in the draw at the expense of the fifth seeded Hungarians.
The mixed event also got underway with the Italians seeded first and second making it safely through joined by both Russian teams this time at the expense of the ninth seeded German team and an unseeded British team.
The British captain Richard Wheeler provided a nail-biting end to the day as he paired up with Sophia Marks to take on the tenth seeds Katerina Guenova and Rosen Nentchev in the mixed. Letting a second set lead slip away, the Brits were forced into a match tie break which the Bulgarians seized 10-8 much to the disappointment of the home fans.
Updated results and draws can be found here.