Photo: Stuart BarracloughGiulia Curzi and Flavia Muniz Aruba Nov 2013 - beach tennis
Giulia Curzi and Flavia Muniz caused an upset in the ladies' event while Niccolo Strano and Matteo Marighella also defeated the top seeds on the men's side.
In the ladies’ final Joana Cortez and Samantha Barijan from Brazil were tournament favourites on centre court but their match went far from expected. Their opponents, compatriot Muniz and her Italian partner Curzi got off to a strong start with aggressive play to take the first set 63.
Brazil had been well-represented all week both on the court and in the crowd and it was no surprise that the atmosphere was electric throughout the ladies’ final with a DJ and live commentary keeping the crowd entertained between points.
Despite regaining some control to take the second set 64 the strong Italian support in the crowd helped push Curzi’s team to fight back and pull off their biggest win of the season 63 46 64 to win the prestigious Aruban title and the winner’s share of a $21,500 prize money pot.
"We had a tough match in the quarterfinals, a tougher match in the semifinals and then we faced the best players in the world in the final," laughed Curzi. "We just had to keep battling and fighting and we are so happy that we managed to win here in Aruba.
"This is one of the most important events to win. I am so happy," she concluded. Muniz added, "this is my fourth year here and my second victory and for me it is always special and I had so much fun playing this final. I think we did a great job."
In the men’s event Alessandro Calbucci and Marco Garavini delighted the crowd as they took on fellow Italians Niccolo Strano and Matteo Marighella but were unable to put an end to Marighella’s record five wins in the tournament losing 64 62.
Calbucci and Garavini came through a tough semifinal match against Pan American Champions Marcus Ferreira and Thales Santos in straight sets and were looking strong going into the final but Strano and Marighella were no ordinary opponents.
Marighella is always a favourite with the locals having reached the final six times, including five victories. Strano has gone from strength to strength this season and formed a formidable partnership with Marighella.
The first set was neck and neck until a break on decisive deuce point at 4-4 gave the eventual champions a chance to take the first set which they duly took. From that point on, the top seeds were never given a chance to get back into the match as they lost the second set 6-2.
Not only famous across the Tour for combining the world's top beach tennis players with the party atmosphere spectators have come to love from the sport but this prestigious Aruban Grade 1 has now added the historic accolade of becoming the first Tour event to have live streaming throughout.