Over the period of 16-19 August 2012, New York, USA welcomed beach tennis action to Long Beach for a G1 level tournament on the ITF Beach Tennis Tour.
A high standard of player was attracted to this event including four of the top six ranked male players of which two, Matteo Marighella and Alex Mingozzi, both from Italy, were back to defend their title.
High ranking entries were not limited just to the men’s doubles event as Italian joint world number fives Simona Bonadonna and Eva D’Elia and Brazil’s former professional tennis player Paula Cortez were also onsite for the first G1 event of 2012 in the USA.
As the events reached the critical knock-out phase, American players were well represented in the men’s draw with eight of the sixteen players hailing from the American continent. In the women’s event Americans accounted for one quarter of those through to the last eight.
Bonadonna and D’Elia were the fancied pairing for this title and the pair came good on the expectations as the highly ranked duo won through two rounds to reach the final with successive 61 60 victories. Home crowds were buoyed by the progress into the final from the opposite half of the draw of their very own Nicole Melch and Nadia Johnston, winners here in July.
Italian teams have always been very dominant in the sport and this continued here in the men’s doubles event as the two Italian pairings in the knock-out rounds won through to the final with neither team dropping a set en route.
Giving the reputations and rankings of the four men contesting the final it came as somewhat of a surprise that after a tense opening set, taken 64 by Alessandro Calbucci and Michele Cappelletti, that the second set should end 60, a result which gave Calbucci and Cappelletti the title.
In reaching the women’s doubles final, Italians Bonadonna and D’Elia had, as mentioned, been in very impressive form, but, so too had their American opponents Johnston and Melch. There was, however, to be disappointment for the home crowd as the world number five pairing romped to a third straight 61 60 win to bring an abrupt end to the Americans hopes of adding to their July title here and causing an upset in the process.
The following week, G1 action took place in the Caribbean as the ITF Beach Tennis Tour touched down on the island of Bermuda.
Both the men’s and women’s champions from the New York event were on hand in Horseshoe Bay looking for another title each before three of the four players left for San Marino and the European Beach Tennis Championships V.
A highlight in the women’s quarterfinals was the all-Brazilian encounter between Tatiana Oliveira and Luciene Sapienza-Muro and Nyala Hordones and Flavia Lofiego who fought out a three-setter; eventually settled 64 46 62 in favour of Oliveira and Sapienza-Muro.
The two men’s quarterfinals played produced comfortable wins of 60 62 and 60 60 for Americans Matt Garvaglia and Stephen Sayoc and Brazilians Marcus Ferreira and Thales Oliveira Santos respectively.
The Italian seeds would prove too strong for both the American and Brazilian pairs with both winning in straight sets to reach the final for the second time in as many weeks.
A repeat of the New York final was also assured in the women’s event when Bonadonna and D’Elia triumphed 61 62 in their semifinal, the second set being the first time in two weeks that they had conceded more than one game in a set, with the Americans Johnston and Melch coming from behind and surviving a final set scare to win through 36 60 75.
The women’s final saw the Italians triumph once more over their American opponents although Johnston and Melch did manage to take three games off the Italians in the second set. With Italian winners guaranteed in the men’s final the 2010 European Champions Marighella and Mingozzi were looking to succeed where Johnston and Melch failed and avenge their New York final defeat.
The opening set was closely fought and finished, as it had done in New York, 64 to Calbucci and Cappalletti, however, this time, Marighella and Mingozzi regrouped and took another close set, 75, to level the match and force the final into a deciding third set. In this set, joint world number four Calbucci and Cappelletti, ranked at number two, proved too strong and were soon celebrating another title triumph, taking the third set 62.
Beach tennis action resumes in the United States on 31 August for a G3 event in Blasdell, NY which precedes five more American based tournaments before Hermosa Beach in California hosts a G1 event at the end of October.
Upcoming US Events in 2012
31 August – 1 September
Hermosa Beach, CA
Huntington Beach, CA
Hermosa Beach, CA