Men’s doubles: Bronze to Portugal Italy defeated with honour

June 25, 2023
Men’s doubles: Bronze to Portugal Italy defeated with honour

The bronze medal in the men’s doubles at the European Games in Krakow goes to Portugal’s Afonso Fazendeiro and Miguel Oliveira. At the end of a tight final that lasted two hours and 31 minutes, Fazendeiro and Oliveira defeated 6-7 7-5 6-0 Italians Simone Cremona and Marco Cassetta. The result, at least in the third set, was affected by an ankle injury for Cremona, who nevertheless honoured the competition by staying on the court rather than retiring.


The first set was balanced, with only one break point conceded by Fazendeiro and Oliveira but promptly annulled. In the twelfth game, however, on the Portuguese’s serve the Italians had six opportunities to close out the set. From 15-40, Fazendeiro and Oliveira recovered to deuce: at the advantages, four more chances for Cremona and Cassetta, none converted. It then went to the tiebreak, led by Italy from the first point. At 6-3 in their favour, three more chances were not taken by Italy, which, however, managed to close 8-6 at the ninth attempt.


Total balance in the first set, but balance also in the second: the Portuguese‘s first break point coincided with a set point, immediately transformed. From there, the match turned, with Fazendeiro and Oliveira having four break points in the first round of their opponents’ service game: Fazendeiro’s backhand volley made it 2-0, on which Cremona suffered a sprained ankle that forced the Azzurri to ask for a medical timeout at the end of the next game. In a precarious physical condition, Cremona remained on the court but the match effectively ended there. However, the great message from Simone remains: to honour the European Games and his own jersey even when injured.


“My partner won the match at the end of the second set, with three or four impressive balls – said Oliveira -. I started to play better and Afonso gave me the energy to win the match. I’m sorry for Simone and for his injury, we preferred to win against an opponent playing at 100%”.