Photo: Lilyana VinogradovaAlessandro Calbucci (ITA)
Fresh from helping Italy wrestle back the World Team title from Brazil in Moscow last week, Alessandro Calbucci and Marco Garavini are preparing for the defence of their individual title at the 2014 Beach Tennis World Championships at Bagno Delfino in Cervia, Italy on 1-3 August.
The Italian world No. 1s are each bidding for their third title at the event. Calbucci won with Luca Meliconi in 2011 and Garavini won with Paolo Tazzari the following year, before the pair teamed up to defeat compatriots Michele Cappelletti and Luca Carli in the final in 2013.
While Calbucci and Garavini will continue to put faith in their highly successful partnership at this year’s event, last year’s women’s champions Veronica Visani and Sofia Cimatti will go their separate ways in their bids to get their hands on the title they won in 2013. Visani teams with Eva D’Elia while Cimatti plays with Federica Bacchetta.
This year’s championships, taking place in Italy’s Ravenna province for the second year running, sees a qualifying event take place for the first time in the two days prior to the championships. Sixty-four men and 32 women will take part in the qualifying events, prior to a 32-strong main draw in both the men’s and women’s tournaments.
Brazil’s Vinicius Font, who will lose the world No. 1 ranking on Monday, will join forces with Italy’s Alex Mingozzi as second seeds, while last year’s runners-up Cappelletti and Carli are seeded third. Other than Font, Brazilian fifth seeds Marcus Ferreira and Thales Santos are the only other non-Italians to feature in the top five seeds in the men’s event.
Brazil’s Samantha Barijan and Joana Cortez are seeded No. 1 in the women’s event, with d’Elia and Visani seeded No. 2 and French twins Marie Eve Hoarau and Mathilde Hoarau seeded third.
Meanwhile, Georgia Pennetta, sister of WTA professional Flavia, has been given a wild card into the women’s event alongside her Puerto Rican partner Beatriz Rivera.
Capacity crowds of up to 2000 are expected again for this year’s final on Sunday 3 August, with all the results, live streaming, match reports and features available here on the official Beach Tennis website.