Aruba Open - November 2019
Aruba once again sparkled under the beach tennis spotlight as battles raged over silverware, ranking points and prestige at the $50,000 ITF event in the island’s capital of Oranjestad.
More than 1400 participants were drawn to the beach tennis extravaganza and competed across numerous draws, including men’s and women’s singles and doubles, mixed doubles and an amateur championship.
The tournament proved the perfect follow on to the ITF Beach Tennis Pan American Championships of the week before when 10 nations fought for regional supremacy, and complemented that competition superbly.
Such is the standing and significance of the $50,000 event – one of the most renowned on the Tour – that the Top 10 in the men’s and women’s rankings were all on show.
After all, the cream of the beach tennis world were eyeing the 400 ranking points on offer and, for the second year running, a hike in prize money from $35,000.
Italy’s Giulia Gasparri is no stranger to the summit of a beach tennis podium and claimed the top prize in both the women’s singles and doubles, the latter alongside compatriot Sofia Cimatti.
The Italian pair, who were seeded third for the tournament, overpowered Veronica Casadei, also of Italy, and Brazil’s Marcela Vita, 6-3 6-4, in the final.
Casadei and Vita provided an intriguing narrative to proceedings as, seeded eighth, they dispatched top seeds Flaminia Daina and Nicole Nobile, gold medallists at last month’s ANOC World Beach Games, in the quarter-finals.
The duo were clearly no respecter of reputations and progressed to the final courtesy of a semi-final victory over No. 4 seeds Eva D’Elia and Veronica Visani, making light work of the Italian pair in a 6-0 6-2 romp.
Gasparri, who began playing beach tennis in 2013, and Cimatti were far from shrinking violets either and duly overcame second seeds Patricia Diaz and Rafaella Miiller, of Venezuela and Brazil respectively, in the semi-finals.
Daina, who entered the tournament as the world No. 2, was Gasparri’s victim in the women’s singles final. Gasparri showed her prowess by defeating her fellow Italian 7-3, while she also accounted for top seed Miiller – a Pan American champion a matter of days earlier – in the last four.
The men’s and women’s doubles were something of an Italian masterclass as Alessandro Calbucci and Michele Cappelletti lived up to their billing as top seeds by sealing glory in the men’s competition.
Calbucci and Cappelletti, Nos. 1 and 2 in the world rankings respectively, disposed of second seeds and defending champions Nikita Burmakin and Tommaso Giovannini 7-5 6-3 in the final. That followed the downing of third seeds Luca Cramarossa of Italy and Spain’s Antonio Miguel Ramos Viera in the semis.
Ramos Viera was not completely denied silverware and was crowned men’s singles champion following a 7-3 defeat of in-form Brazilian Andre Ricardo Baran in the final. Baran, who triumphed at the Pan American Championships alongside Vinicius Font, accounted for top seed Cappelletti in the last eight.
Victory for Burmakin in the men’s doubles 12 months ago propelled him to the top of the world rankings, and the Russian did not leave the Caribbean empty-handed this time around. He and Daina denied Ramos Viera, who was partnered by Nobile, a second title by winning the mixed doubles final 7-2.
As ever, the action on the sand was intriguing and exhilarating, while the significance of the Aruba Beach Tennis Open on the calendar remains as significant as ever.
Trophies have already been distributed and no doubt housed in the most suitable of cabinets. The ranking points, however, which come into effect on 2 December, are likely to have a sizeable impact on who ends the year in the much-coveted world No. 1 spots.