Italian teams once again led the way at the European Beach Tennis Championships, sweeping all titles at the competition for a fourth consecutive year.
Held at the Black Sea resort of Albena in Bulgaria from September 16-18, this year's event was the biggest yet. 124 players from 19 nations were in attendance, with 36 players being ranked within the world's Top 100.
The all-Italian men’s doubles final was a triumph for youth over experience, as second seeds Luca Carli & Michele Cappelletti battled back from the loss of the first set to inflict a stinging defeat on world #1s Alessandro Calbucci & Luca Meliconi 2-6 7-5 6-1. Aged just 18 and 20, Carli & Cappelletti were competing at the event for the first time, while their distinguished opponents already have an accomplished career in Beach Tennis behind them, with at least one of them appearing in every previous edition of the men’s final.
Women’s champions Simona Briganti & Laura Olivieri also kept up their run of having appeared in every European Championship final so far. Having split the first two titles with different partners, the pair teamed up last year in Antalya and have not lost since, defending their title in Albena with a convincing 6-2 6-2 win over second seeded compatriots Simona Bonadonna & Eva D’Elia.
The mixed doubles competition saw a series of upsets, as unseeded Spaniards Antonio Ramos & Rosa Sitja took out second seeds Briganti & Carli quarterfinals (the first time an Italian team has lost before the semi finals at the Championships), before falling to Russian pair Irina Bulykina & Levan Nanava. Despite a 6-0 first set, the Russians put up a tough fight in the final match but were unable to prevent the Italian sweep, losing 6-0 7-5 to D’Elia & Meliconi. Meliconi thus claimed his first European Championship title after appearing in four previous finals.
The Championships have a history of attracting entries from former professional tennis players and this year was no exception as Elena Likhovtseva of Russia made her debut on the ITF Beach Tennis Circuit. The former WTA doubles world #3 and winner of 29 career doubles titles, including two mixed Grand Slams teamed up with another former pro, Maria Goloviznina. The pair lost their opening match to French fifth seeds Manuela Amiard & Adele Sauguet, but later managed to record their first match win together in the consolation competition.
Full draws and results, plus a photo gallery from Albena can be found below.
Draws and Results
Men's Draw | Women's Draw | Mixed Draw | Men's Consolation | Women's Consolation
Nations Ranking | Photo Gallery