Photo: Stuart BarracloughAlessandro Calbucci at ITF Beach Tennis World Championships 2013
CERVIA, ITALY: The first round of the 2013 Cervia Beach Tennis World Championship has come to an end and as expected the tournament brought great excitement along with some incredible displays of beach tennis to the beautiful coast of Cervia.
No great surprises in the men’s round one matches as the tournament favourites, Italians Alessandro Calbucci and Marco Garavini, got off to a solid start winning their match on centre court 61 61 against Lithuania’s Artiom Ivancov and Mikhail Volkovich.
Italian pair Michele Cappelletti and Luca Carli also got off to a solid start as they looked to put their early exit from last year’s tournament behind them by beating France’s Olivier Samaran and Austria’s Martin Schmidt 60 61 to proceed to round two.
Sixth seeded team of the men’s draw composed of France’s Regis Courtois and Brazilian Vinicious Font were put to the test by Italian pair Luca Rosatone and Paolo Tronci. They managed to bring the game to the third set but eventually lost it 63 36 75 to the mixed nationality team.
"We beat them in the Grade 1 event in Russia a few weeks ago and knew it would be a tough match here on Italian sand. We were struggling at 3-1 down in the third set but luckily managed to dig it out and move into the second round," said Brazilian Vinicius Font after the match.
The women’s draw had quite a few surprises as seeded teams five, six and seven all exited early to confirm that the absence of the last year’s winners has created more competition than ever much to the delight of all the spectators here at Bagno Delfino.
Nonetheless, the favourites Giulia Curzi and Giulia Spazzoli of Italy got through their first round match against Slovenia’s Marcela Cuderman and Romina Jarc with a comfortable 60 62 win. As did Italian pair Eva D’Elia and Michela Zanaboni by winning 64 61 against Spanish pair Oiane Blasco Boutens and Alba Gamell Castillo.
One of the most entertaining games of round one was without doubt Nicola Gambi and Alex Mingozzi of Italy against Italy’s Maurizio Di Cori and San Marino’s William Forcellini. The game lasted three sets but eventually Di Cori and Forcellini succumbed to the experience of veteran ITF circuit players Mingozzi and Gambi. The match ended 36 62 63 to the delight of the many spectators that had gathered to enjoy this wonderful exhibition of beach tennis.
Speaking after the match, Mingozzi admitted: "It was a difficult first set and we were under a lot of pressure being in front of home fans at the World Championships but we came back well in the next two sets and were playing really well. The level is very high here and for sure our match tomorrow will be an even greater challenge."
There was also time today for the first round of the mixed doubles which combines some of the more energetic style of play of the men with the more precise play of the women. The result was some spectacular play that only promises to get better in round two tomorrow. There were no upsets as the top seeds all went through to round two.
Court six hosted some of the most spectacular mixed doubles play with Czech Republic’s Jana Deylova and San Marino’s William Forcellini going three sets against Spain’s Oiane Blasco Boutens and France’s Francois Jouque ending with a thrilling 6-7(5) 6-3 11-9 to Deylova and Forcellini.
The game that followed between Maria Buuts of Aruba and Thales Oliviera Santos of Brazil against Japan’s Mayumi Umeda and Kotaro Aizawa also went the distance. To the delight of Maria Buuts, who was eliminated from the women's competition earlier in the day, this ended 10-6 in a match tie break in favour of Buuts and Santos.
The day came to an end too early for many of the spectators, however the players competing tomorrow will be looking forward to getting some much-needed rest before their second round matches get under way.
Updated draws and results can be viewed here.