DODEA-Europe tennis, Day 3
Pair from Rome came, saw and conquered
By DAN STOUTAMIRE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 29, 2016
WIESBADEN, Germany — Schools from the Eternal City held sway on the final day of the DODEA European tennis championships as Mathias Mingazzini of Marymount International and Kaya Rand of the American Overseas School of Rome won the boys’ and girls’ titles, respectively.
Mingazzini was impressive throughout the tournament, and put a fine point on his dominance with a solid win over fellow Italian Francesco Londono of Florence 6-1, 6-4. Despite a stumble early in the second set, Mingazzini won the final three games of that set to take the title. He looked equally comfortable with his forehand and backhand, and was just that bit more precise and error-free than Londono.
“It feels great, obviously, and it was a good match, I played well, I’m satisfied,” Mingazzini, a sophomore, said. “The whole tournament was good. I look forward to coming back next year.”
Londono was magnanimous in defeat.
“Mathias is a good player and it’s always fun to play with him,” he said.
In the girls’ competition, it was little-heralded freshman Rand who emerged as victor over the experienced Kiki Sibilla of Vicenza in what turned in to a baseline slugfest that went the full three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Rand entered the competition as a No. 4 seed out of six in her bracket.
She said her strategy was to play mistake-free and get the volatile Sibilla to become overly emotional in her play, and it seemed to work, especially in the final set.
Rand said her family is planning to move back to the U.S. next year, making this her first and only European tournament. But she hopes to continue playing wherever she is.
“It’s my favorite sport and that’s what I want to do for my job when I get older,” she said. “I’ve been playing since I was 3.”
In doubles’ play, ISB and Ramstein had representatives in both boys’ and girls’ finals, which they split. The Belgian school took the boys’ bracket with the team of Yuki Takeuchi and Victor della Faille, while the Royals’ Amanda Daly and Sophie Tomatz took the girls’ crown.
Takeuchi and della Faille have been playing together for two years, Takeuchi said, something that makes them tough to beat with his strong left-handed serve and della Faille’s dominant net play. Their win was appreciated by teammate Gianluca Curti, who injured his knee in Friday’s semifinal against Ramstein and could be seen walking in a brace Saturday.
“I’m happy that I was able to get back from the hospital this morning to come see my teammates win the championship,” Curti said.
Daly and Tomatz were the only winners from a DODEA school at this year’s championships.
“I feel on top of the world,” Daly said. “I got third last year and it feels so great to get first this year.”
Daly and Tomatz overcame ISB’s French duo of Hortense L’Hostis and Brune Luciat-Labry with a combination of Daly’s net play and Tomatz scurrying across the baseline to clean up anything Daly might have missed.
“Sophie has the most amazing crosscourt backhand,” Daly said.