Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and his partner Daniele Lupo had a spectacular run into the final to win their first medal on the tour, while reigning World Champions Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti clinched their first medal this summer, winning bronze.
It was a huge week for Paolo Nicolai. Playing his first final on the World Tour is amazing in itself, but the way he got there was just as remarkable. Together with his partner Daniele Lupo he managed to beat the biggest names in the field – neither American superstars Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser in the first round (21-16, 23-21) nor Brazilian giants Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego in the semi-final (21-16, 21-13) stood a chance against the young Italian duo. A stunned Emanuel tried to explain his thoughts about that semi-final defeat: „The Italian team played their best. They played a very consistent game,” he said and added, “We tried to change strategy during the match, but it was impossible to stop them. They were playing at a very high level at that moment.“
During the final, Paolo suffered a minor injury, which might be one of the reasons they could not maintain the level and lost in straight sets against the Dutch team Richard Schuil and Reinder Nummerdor with 11-21, 16-21.
Still, this is the greatest success so far in the young Italian’s career and he could hardly believe it himself: „It’s incredible, because in one tournament we beat Rogers/Dalhusser and Emanuel/Alison, maybe the best teams in the world. They are like my heroes. I couldn’t imagine that one day I could beat these players. It’s a fantastic moment for us.“
Our other Heroes, however, had a harder time this week. Chinese local Heroes Linyin Xu and Penggen Wu were the only team amongst them to even pass the first round, finishing fifth.
After a one-week break, the men’s tour moves to the Czech Republic where the Prague Open is held. Stay tuned at www.fivbheroes.com to find out all about our Heroes’ performance!