By Sports Reporter/ Doha
Italian duo Tommaso Giovannini and Flaminia Daina’s dramatic 7-6 (4), 7-5 victory over World No. 1 Nikita Burmakin and Irina Glimakova of Russia in mixed doubles punctuated a day that saw the previously-undefeated Russians, relative newcomers to the sport, finally beaten at Katara Beach in the quarter-final round.
Giovannini/Daina fell behind 1-4 early in the first set, and it looked like the Russians, let by world No 1 Burmakin, would cruise into the semi-finals. But the Italians responded by winning six of the next eight games, including the tie-break to take the first set. Finding themselves down 1-4 in the second set, it was the Russians who would then battle back to even the set at four games apiece. With Giovannini serving to close out the match, Burmakin/Glimakova fought to again level the score at five games apiece, but the Italians won the next two for a hard-fought victory.
In the afternoon session, top ranked duo Alessandro Calbucci/Michele Cappelletti (ITA) took the opening set against Nikolai Gurev/Ivan Syrov (RUS) 6-1 before battling through a second set marred with unforced errors to hang on 7-5. They will meet former world No 1 Vinicius Font/Andre Baran (BRA) in the next round.
Burmakin/Sergey Kuptsov (RUS), who defeated second-seeded Giovannini/Luca Cramarossa (ITA) the previous day in men’s doubles, earned a spot in the other semi-final with a victory over Brazil. They will face the Spanish team of Gerard Rodriguez/Antonio Ramos, victors over France.
In the women’s doubles, world No 1 Italian pair Giulia Gasparri/Sofia Cimatti easily handled Liudmila Nikoyan/Ekaterina Kirgizova (RUS) 6-2 6-2, which will set up a semi-final matchup with Rafaella Miller (BRA) and partner Joana Cortez (BRA). The Brazilians prevailed 6-4 6-2 over Lady Correa/Patricia Diaz (VEN).
Prior to her mixed doubles match, Russia’s Glimakova battled through the day’s most competitive match with Daria Churakova (RUS) against Nadia Johnston/Nicole Melch (USA). The Americans pushed the Russian duo to the brink in an 113-minute marathon match that eventually went Russia’s way 5-7 7-5 10-5.
Italy’s second-ranked team of Daina/Nicole Nobile also advanced 6-3 6-3 against Brazilians Lorena Melo/Marcela Vita. They will face Glimakova/Churakova in today’s semi-final, setting up a potential all-Italy women’s final.
In the evening’s other mixed doubles action, both Brazilian teams advanced to the next round. Rafaella Miller (BRA) and her partner Baran needed three sets to defeat Ramos/Eva Fernandez (ESP) 4-6 6-3 10-3, while Font/Joana Cortez prevailed over Spain’s other mixed doubles squad Rodriguez/Sabrina Lopez 6-4 6-1.
Today’s women’s semi-finals kick off at 2:30pm, followed by the men at 4:30pm. The medals matches will commence at 5:30pm.
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