Italian players retained their vice-like grip on the European Beach Tennis Championships, winning all three gold medals for a sixth consecutive year.
Over 120 players representing 20 European nations were in action at the three-day event, which was hosted for the first time by the British Lawn Tennis Association at Brighton’s Yellowave Centre.
The men’s event went with form, with the world’s top four-ranked players advancing to contest the final. Three of the participants were fighting for the gold medal for a second successive year as defending champion and world #1 Marco Garavini teamed with world #2 Alessandro Calbucci to face 2011 champions Michele Cappelletti & Luca Carli.
The final result was a repeat of the most recent match between the Italian foursome, which came in the finals of last week’s World Championships in Moscow. Garavini & Calbucci maintained the upper hand throughout a close contest to force a 6-4 7-5 win that earned them their second major championship title in a fortnight.
The win marks a first European title for Calbucci, who finished the event as runner-up in 2009 and 2011, and a third for Garavini, who won in 2008 and 2012 alongside Tazzari.
The bronze medal went to Russian team Nikita Burmakin & Igor Panin, who survived a comeback from Patrice Band & Pascal Herve (FRA) before triumphing in a champion’s tie break, 6-4 5-7 [10-5].
The women’s title also remains in Italian hands, though the event saw a few surprises along the way. World #1 Eva D’Elia and partner Giulia Curzi had high hopes for the title given D’Elia’s status as defending champion, but their progress was derailed in the semi-finals by third seeded Germans Dorothee Bereth & Carina Blank.
Already assured of Germany’s first ever medal at the European Championships, Bereth & Blank put up a strong fight in the final against second seeds Flamina Daina & Michaela Zanaboni, taking the pair to a tie break in the second set before capitulating 6-2 7-6(0).
D’Elia & Curzi earned the consolation of a bronze medal, scoring a 6-4 7-5 win over San Marino’s Alice Grandi & Camila Zafferani.
The final match of the day was an all-Italian mixed doubles final, with Flamina Daina & Marco Garavini adding to their doubles titles by beating top seeds Eva D’Elia & Luca Carli to claim their second gold medals of the championships.
Alice Grandi & Willian Forcellini beat Russia’s Gulnara Fattakhetdinova & Nikita Burmakin 6-3 6-4 to claim the bronze medal for San Marino, a second career bronze for Forcellini.
The Championships will remain in Great Britain for a second year in 2014. Full draws and results can be found below.
Men's Doubles | Women's Doubles | Mixed Doubles | Nations Ranking | Photos
Beach Tennis UK | LTA Beach Tennis site | ITF Beach Tennis