Photo: SmashOnTheBeachBacchetta/Cimatti (ITA) hug each other after winning the WC
The 2,000-capacity stadium at Bagno Delfino was packed to the rafters for the women's doubles final at the Beach Tennis World Championships in Cervia, Italy, with fourth seeds Sofia Cimatti and Federica Bacchetta emerging triumphant.
An all-Italian affair saw Cimatti and Bacchetta take on No. 8 seeds Camilla Ponti and Martina Corbara, who had impressed at this year's event with several fantastic results against difficult opponents.
The first set proved a fierce contest as both teams looked to take an all-important early lead, but some fine teamwork from Bacchetta and Cimatti was enough to make the difference in the opener as they rounded out the set 75.
Ponti and Corbara hit back in the second and raced into a 5-2 advantage. Cimatti and Bacchetta had not lost a single set en route to the final and did not seem to be ready to lose another as they fought bravely to peg their opponents back to 4-5. It was too little, too late in the context of the set though, as Ponti and Corbara kept their cool to win it 64.
The tension around centre court stadium was palpable as the two teams readied their tired bodies for one more decisive set that would see only one of them crowned champions. Bachetta and Cimatti were devastatingly effective in the third set, perhaps due to some fatigue setting in after three gruelling days for their opponents, and they were crowned World Champions after racing through the decider for the loss of just one game.
Cimatti, who had won on this very court last year with a different partner, was delighted with her repeat triumph.
"Even though I won last year it's a fantastic feeling," she said. "This is the first time I played with Federica and it has really worked and has been great. I am already looking forward to the European Championships."
Federica was thrilled to have won her first World Championship crown.
"I missed out last year due to injury and have always wanted to win this tournament," she confessed. "I reached the final here once and lost and have been wanting to come back and win it for a while."
Centre court also saw the final of the mixed doubles on Sunday, which featured the only international player in any of the title matches in Patricia Diaz of Venezuela, who teamed with Italian Matteo Godio to take on Camilla Ponti and Marco Faccini.
Diaz/Godio started strong and took the first set comfortably 61 only to find a more determined opposition in the second set as Ponti and Faccini prevailed 62. The decisive match tie-break that followed was another tense affair, with neither team wanting to make a mistake. Some great rallies and returns ensued, before Ponti and Faccini finally won the mixed doubles event 16 62 [10-7].
The men's doubles final, featuring Marco Garavini and Alessandro Calbucci versus Luca Meliconi and Luca Cramarossa, started with fantastic energy but, sadly for the 2,500 people who had come to watch and those tuning in via the livestream, the game was suspended for bad weather with the score at 2-2 after virtually every game going to deuce.
The final recommences on Monday at 16:00 Italian time. Live streaming and live scoring services will continue to be available through the ITF website.