11 Aug 2013

Clean sweep for Italy at European Championships

News Article

By Stuart Barraclough

Italy at the 2013 European Beach Tennis Championships

BRIGHTON, GREAT BRITAIN. Italy once again proved too strong at the European Beach Tennis Championships, taking home all three titles on a day filled with sun, sand and excitement on the British coastline.

There was plenty of drama in the ladies event on finals day as tournament favourites and No. 1 seeds Eva D’Elia and Giulia Curzi from Italy were unable to break through the torrent of attacking play from Germans Dorothee Berreth and Carina Blank.

The Germans reached their first final at the European Beach Tennis Championships without losing a set as they overcame the Italians 64 64 in the last four. There was however one more Italian team standing in their way of becoming European Champions.

Michaela Zanaboni and Flamina Daina of Italy defeated the San Marino ladies in the second semifinal and the Italian Daina was keen to improve on her third place position at the World Championships a week earlier.

In true British style there was strong support for the German underdogs in the ladies final as the crowds continued to grow. Despite forcing the Italians into a second set tiebreak, defeating a second Italian team proved too great a challenge as Flamina Daina and Michalea Zanaboni become European Champions 62 76(0).

"It was an amazing feeling to defeat the top seeds in the semifinal and it is always special to beat a top Italian team on such a big stage," said Berreth. "I knew that if we played at our top level for two sets then we could win. My partner also played really well and I was very emotional after our victory."

Still smiling, she added: "Unfortunately we were not able to repeat this feat but we are happy to have reached the final of the European Championships and look forward to returning next year."

It was an all-Italian affair in the men’s final producing a repeat of last week’s ITF Beach Tennis World Championships final. Alessandro Calbucci and Marco Garavini fended off the hard-hitting Russian pair of Nikita Burmakin and Igor Panin 62 64 in their semifinal match while their compatriots Michele Cappelletti and Luca Carli came through a tough match against Patrice Bang and Pascal Hervé of France.

After a fine display of beach tennis from both sides in the final, Calbucci and Garavini finally added European Champions to their titles as they claimed the match 64 75.

"I am delighted to have continued the winning streak from the World Championships and to have retained the men’s doubles European Champion title I won in 2012 with Paolo Tazzari," said Garavini.

The third place play-off was an even closer affair as the Russians came through a tense match 64 57 [10-5] to end in third place.

In the mixed final the Italians were guaranteed another title as compatriots Eva D’Elia and Luca Carli faced Flamina Daina and Marco Garavini. With a title already in their pockets from the men’s and ladies events, Daina and Garavini looked likely to trouble their number one seeded opponents.

As the warm evening sun descended on the courts, Garavini and Daina completed a perfect day winning the mixed doubles title 76(5) 64.

"It is an amazing feeling to confirm both the men’s and mixed doubles titles at the European Championships which I won last year and to have done so with new partners in each event," said Garavini. "I am very happy."

Third place in the mixed was won by the San Marino team of William Forcellini and Alice Grandi 63 64.

It was no surprise to the crowds that Italy were awarded Tennis Europe's Nations Cup while Germany came in second place and Russia in third.

Elsewhere the men’s and ladies consolations were won by the German brothers Benjamin and Manuel Ringlstetter and Monika Erdelyi and Aniko Kovaks respectively.

Full match results can be found here.