After a night of disappointment and close calls last night, Andre Baran/Rafaella Miller (BRA) dominated France’s Nicolas Gianotti/Marie Eve Hoarau 6-1 6-1 to win gold in the Beach Tennis mixed doubles finals under the lights at Katara Beach. Both Brazilians came up just short in the gold-medal matches of their respective events yesterday.
Their doubles partners Vinicius Font/Joana Cortez (BRA), playing together in the mixed competition, took bronze with a victory over Italy in the third-place match.
Baran/Miller dispatched the French team, the surprise duo of the tournament, in just 38 short minutes in the final. Gianotti/Hoarau, victors over the other Brazilian team in the day’s earlier semi-finals, were able to win the second game of the first set and take the next two to deuce, but were clearly outmatched by Baran/Miller for the remainder of the evening.
“Our strategy worked perfectly,” Miller said. “We played a lot of points to [Hoarau]. I just wanted this medal so much. We just gave 100 percent.”
In a closely-contested bronze-medal match, Font/Cortez edged Italy’s Tommaso Giovannini/Flaminia Daina 4-6 7-6 (2) 10-8 in a super tie-break. After the first set went Italy’s way, Brazil forced the second into a tie-break. They took a 5-0 lead en route to winning the set, and forcing a first-to-10 decisive frame. Although Brazil seemingly had the momentum, Italy charged out to a 4-0 lead. Starting with a long rally on the fifth point, Font/Cortez fought back to eventually even the score at six. Serving at 9-8, Font punctuated the match with an ace.
“I knew that if we got the chance to get to the tie-break, we had more chances there than winning in our serving games,” an emotional Font said after the match. “We had only one chance, and we took it.”
In the day’s earlier semi-finals, in a partial rematch of last night’s women’s doubles final that the Brazilians lost to Italy, Baran/Miller took on Giovannini/Daina. It was world No 1 Miller, this time, who got the best of Daina, one-half of the women’s gold-medallist Italians, winning in straight sets 6-4 7-6 (2).
Brazil looked tentative early, falling behind 2-0 in the first set. Bolstered by some poor serving and unforced errors from Italy, Baran/Miller was able to tie the set at two games apiece before winning four of the next six games to take the first set 6-4.
Neither team was able to hold serve in the second, pushing the set to a tie-break. Errors haunted Giovannini/Daina, who only managed to score two points in the final frame.
In the other semi-final, Font/Cortez were again involved in a match decided by super tie-break. France’s Gianotti/Hoarau dispatched them to the third-place decider with a score of 7-6 (4) 2-6 10-7.