Samsun, Turkey, July 29, 2018 – Thirteen seems to be the lucky number for Carolina Ferraris and Francesca Michieletto. Seeded 13th, the young Italians progressed from Thursday's qualification matches into the main draw rounds and all the way to victory in the women's final on Sunday. Ferraris, who turned 19 on Saturday, and her 20-year-old teammate have only played once on the World Tour before, finishing fifth at Miguel Pereira 2018.
The second place on the podium was for the tournament’s top seeds, Eva Freiberger and Valerie Teufl of Austria. For both of these well-seasoned players, the two fifth-place finishes from after they teamed up in early July, at Porec and at Daegu, had been the best results so far on the World Tour.
Fifth-seeded Swedes Camilla Nilsson and Sofia Ogren claimed the bronze medals at Samsun. For either of these 34-year-old players this was the first ever podium placement on the World Tour.
The women’s podium at Samsun
The gold medal match between the Italians and the Austrians was a 54-minute battle. Ferraris and Michieletto won the first set by the narrowest of margins, but in the second Freiberger and Teufl did just the same, levelling the match. In the decider, the young Italians kept cooler when it mattered the most and celebrated a 2-1 (21-19, 19-21, 15-11) victory.
“I am so happy that we won the gold medal. It feels amazing! We did not expect this result. Many thanks to all those who have been supporting us! It was an amazing experience to play in front of the Turkish fans,” said Michieletto.
The bronze medal match was also decided in a tie-breaker. Ninth-seeded Nicole Dostalova and Anna Komarkova of the Czech Republic won the first set by a wide margin, but Nilsson and Ogren reacted by winning the second by an even wider margin. Riding their momentum, the Swedes went on to win the crucial set to rejoice with the bronze after a 2-1 (15-21, 21-12, 15-10) win.
Earlier, in the two semifinals, both the Austrian and the Italian pairs took revenge for the losses they had suffered to the same opponents in the pool phase of the main draw. Ferraris and Michieletto came back from a set down against Nilsson and Ogren to turn the course of their semifinal towards a 2-1 (19-21, 21-16, 15-12) win. Freiberger and Teufl were more emphatic in their 2-0 (21-16, 21-14) shutout of Dostalova and Komarkova.