02 Aug 2015

New World Champions in Daina and Gasparri

News Article

By Clive White

Photo: Fabrizio RomitiGiulia Gasparri and Flaminia Daina (ITA) celebrate title

Italian beach tennis as a collective seemed to decide on Sunday that Maraike Biglmaier, of Germany, and Patricia Diaz, of Venezuela, had had their moment in the sun by becoming the first non-Italian partnership in the history of the ITF Beach Tennis World Championship to reach the final of the women’s doubles. Now it was time to put them in the shade.   

As the No. 6 seeds, the Italians Flaminia Daina and Giulia Gasparri, may have been seeded two slots beneath their opponents, but they were superior in every other way in winning their first world title 64 61 in Cervia, the home of the world championships for the past three years.

Obviously the confidence gained from beating the No. 1 seeds and near certainties to retain their title, Federica Bacchetta and Sofia Cimatti, in the semifinals the previous day had stood them in good stead.

After dropping the opening game they hardly put a foot wrong and it soon became obvious that while the run of six years of all-Italian women finals may have been over, Italy’s stranglehold on the competition was not.

There was a big responsibility on the shoulders of Daina and Gasparri and they made light of the load. “When I have a big responsibility normally I play better,” explained Gasparri.

This particular Italian pairing proved beyond doubt that they were the strongest unit in this competition, which was underlined by the fact that they didn’t drop a set throughout it; appropriately, only Bacchetta and Cimatti managed to take them to a tiebreak.

Their all-round game was excellent, but their finesse at the net stood them apart, as Biglmaier was the first to admit.

“I think they did everything right,” she said. “They have the same coach [Simona Bonadonna] as our opponents from yesterday so they pretty much knew what to do even better.

“They kind of made everything perfect. They went very straightforward to the net - our lobs were too short - they could attack a lot and they played a very good touch game at the net. Today they were just the better team. The match went very quickly – and very quickly out of our hands.”

Her partner, Diaz, was obviously bitterly disappointed and left the court in a hurry afterwards. But she should not have any recriminations about how she and her partner played, even if they weren’t quite at their best.

The fact that they had not played on Centre Court before yesterday, whereas their opponents had done in beating the No. 1 seeds, may have been a factor, but it certainly wasn’t the reason why they lost. The Italians were just constantly out-manoeuvring them, never more so than on their second match point when Gasparri calmly put the ball in the one area of the court that their opponents had left unguarded.

“I think I served very well the whole tournament and today I didn’t win one service game, which, of course, is frustrating for me,” said Biglmaier, who was once a very promising tennis player until injury curtailed her career.

“I didn’t feel comfortable. It would have been good to play a match before here on the Centre Court because the conditions were different here. The court was very hard, maybe because of the rain last night. Everything seemed to be different from the matches before.”

Daina was lost for words afterward to describe her delight. “Tonight party,” she eventually managed to get out, “only tomorrow will we think about the future.”

At least Diaz’s fellow countrywoman, Lady Corea, managed to come away with a winner’s prize. She and her partner, Japan’s Kaori Yanase, won the women’s doubles consolation event when they beat Marcela Cuderman, of Slovakia and Marlena Metzinger, of Austria, 14 53 41 in the final.