DODEA-Europe tennis, Day 2
Singles finals will have distinctive Italian flavor
By DAN STOUTAMIRE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 28, 2016
WIESBADEN, Germany — The finals of both the boys’ and girls’ singles brackets will have a distinctly southern flavor this year, as each of the four remaining competitors in the DODE- Europe tennis championships hail from Italiy-based schools.
Mathias Mingazzini of Marymount will face off against Francesco Londono of Florence in the boys final on Saturday, while Kiki Sibilla of Vicenza will look to hold off impressive freshman Kaya Rand of the American Overseas School of Rome.
Mingazzini, a sophomore, is the lone undefeated boys’ player after two days, having already defeated senior Londono in pool play 7-5, 6-2 Thursday.
In the semifinals Friday, Mingazzini defeated Felix Selvik of the International School of Brussels, brother of last year’s champion Fabian, handily, 6-0, 6-2. Londono defeated Lin Ting of AOSR 6-3, 6-2.
The pair know each other’s games well.
“Me and Francesco are good friends, so I am looking forward to the final,” Mingazzini said. “I need to be very aggressive because he’s a really good player who pushes (to the net) more than Selvik.”
Rand, in her first European championships, is the only undefeated girl left, having defeated Sibilla Thursday in a grueling three-set match 4-6, 6-3, 10-4. To reach the finals, Rand defeated Kendall Smith of Stuttgart in the semifinals Friday 6-1, 6-0 in a match she controlled from start to finish.
Smith will play in Saturday’s third-place game against Cami Carswell of Ramstein, who entered the semifinals undefeated but fell to an inspired Sibilla 6-0, 6-1.
“My goal was to make it out of pool play and luckily I did, so being here was definitely a shock but the best thing I could have asked for,” Smith said.
Her twin sister Sydney finished fourth at this year’s golf championships, so she’s hoping to finish one better. “She won soccer Europeans last year, I won softball Europeans, so we’re pretty competitive with different sports,” Smith said of her friendly sibling rivalry.
Sibilla was able to maintain her focus and composure against Carswell, something she admitted she’s struggled with in the past.
“I’m usually not in the zone and my emotions get a hold of me, so it was different,” she said. “I just waited for her mistakes and kept the ball in. My mindset was just to treat is as a game of tennis, just to go out there and do it, all or nothing.”
In boys’ doubles play, the potential for an all-ISB final was ended when junior Gianluca Curti suffered a serious-looking knee injury in the second set against Ramstein, meaning the Royals’ Ben Mouritsen and Grady Gallagher will face ISB’s first team of Yuki Takeuchi and Victor della Faille for the title. Mouritsen and Gallagher were up a set when Curti’s injury happened, but they both said they wished their victory had come in different circumstances.
“We did take the first set, but it would have been close,” Gallagher said. “It sucks to win like that, and I hope he gets better.”
Curti was visibly upset about being unable to continue and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Four teams remain in the hunt for the girls’ doubles title, with semifinals set to begin Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Naples’ Lindsey Plavcan and Jade Sawyer will take on Ramstein’s Amanda Daly and Sophie Tomatz, while SHAPE’s Evelyn Brunelle and Synnoeve Lillefosse face off against ISB’s all-French team of Brune Luciat-Labry and Hortense L’Hostis. Ramstein and ISB should be favored, with both teams yet to lose a match.
All four finals matches are set for 11 a.m.