Today was a day to forget for American beach tennis players at the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games.
Today saw the first action in the sport of Beach Tennis at the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games. Both the mixed and women’s doubles tournaments would get underway late in the afternoon.
There was only one match in the women’s doubles tournament to be contested today. Since there are 17 pairs entered into the tournament, it was necessary to have one Round of 32 match. The two pairs unlucky enough to get drawn into the match were Cunha/Alexandrino (POR) and Persad/Roncal (VEN). The match was a tightly contested affair with both teams winning multiple games. The first set took an extra game to decide the winner, and saw Persad/Roncal come out on top 7-6. The second set saw Persad/Roncal win 6-4, meaning they won the match 2-0. The women’s doubles tournament will continue tomorrow with the Round of 16.
The mixed doubles tournament needed a few more matches to decide who would advance to the Round of 16.
The first match on center court saw Yamamoto/Otsuka (JPN) take on home favorites Al-Alawi/Al Naimi (QAT). The Qataris were outclassed from the first point. The Japanese duo scored point, after point to win the first set 6-0. The pairing from Qatar were only able to win one measly game in the second set. Yamamoto/Otsuka won the set 6-1, thus taking the match as well. When asked about how the home support felt, Al Naimi answered, “I feel proud of my country hosting such a big tournament. To have the World Athletics Championships last week was so nice also, and now this. I hope all the players enjoy their time here and they experience good facilities, and I am sure they will.” Unfortunately for the Qataris, this loss meant the end of their games as neither will play in their gender’s doubles tournament.
The second match on center court saw Manuela Cunha trying to avenge her earlier loss in the women’s doubles. She and her partner Henrique Freitas (POR) faced off against Javier Mendes and Beatriz Rivera of Puerto Rico in a marathon match. The first set was won by Freitas/Cunha 7-6. The Puerto Ricans rebounded to take the second set 6-3. Halfway through the tiebreaker, Portugal looked ready to avenge their second set loss with a lead of 5-3. However, a series of mistakes broke their rhythm. Mendes/Rivera took full advantage and scored 7 unanswered points to win the tiebreaker 10-5. It was heartbreak for Manuela Cunha who had managed to lose two matches on the first day of beach tennis, this ending her 2019 ANOC World Beach Games campaign.
A few other matches took place around center court on courts 2, 3, and 4.
On court 2, Maio/Alexandrino (POR) lost to Goda/Shibayama (JPN) 2-0 (6-1, 6-4). This wasn’t only Alexandrino’s second loss of the day, but it also served as Portugal’s third defeat on the day. Portugal currently has a record of 0-3 in beach tennis at the ANOC World Beach Games .
Courts 3 and 4 both saw American losses in the mixed doubles tournament. Bonfigli/Johnston (USA) lost to Guegano/Hoarau (FRA) on court 3. Guegano/Hoarau controlled the match, and earned a 2-0 (6-1, 6-4) victory. Across the way on court 4, Rivera/Melch (USA) also lost to the Russian pairing of Gurev/Nikoyan. The final score of the match was 2-0 (6-2, 7-6), but the Americans did come close to beating the Russians in the second set.
The beach tennis tournament at the 2019 ANOC Word Beach Games will continue tomorrow with the men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles Round of 16 matches. For more information visit https://www.awbgqatar.com. Stay on the lookout for more Totallympics Media updates about the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games.