The World Padel Tour drew impressive crowds as it rolled into Mijas Pueblo last week. Some 3,000 people were treated to some of the best competitive padel in the world over the weekend as tickets at the specially-constructed arena in Plaza Virgen de la Peña sold out.
As demonstrated in the Costa del Sol Open, which ran from Tuesday through to Sunday, the level of ability on the tour is currently higher than ever before. In the men's competition especially, any of the top ten or twelve pairs on the world ranking are capable of winning a final.
Argentinian pair Franco Stupaczuk and Cristian Gutiérrez did just that, picking up their first win of the season so far in a thrilling final played at a much slower pace than usual. They saw off Matías Díaz and Maxi Sánchez by two sets to one, showing grit to overcome an initial setback in the three-hour tie.
In the women's category, the outcome was in less doubt. Sisters María Pilar and María José Sánchez Alayeto, who came up against the number 2 pairing of Marta Marrero and Cata Tenorio (who stepped in for the injured Alejandra Salazar), got off to a blistering start, claiming the first set by a comfortable 6 to 2.
They faced increased resistance in the second and despite starting well, it went to a tie break which the sisters won thanks to three consecutive points. They take their season's tally to four tournament wins from five.
A great success
Sporting matters aside, the Cerveza Victoria Mijas-Costa del Sol Open was a success for the town which saw thousands of people come to attend matches. Tickets for both Saturday evening and Sunday sold out, meaning some 3,000 people enjoyed the climax of the competition over the weekend.
Local player, Carolina Navarro, who has been a professional padel player for 20 years, said that she had rarely seen an arena like the one installed in Plaza Virgen de la Peña, with views of both the sea and the mountains.
Mijas town hall's councillor for Sport, Nuria Rodríguez, told SUR that the competition had "exceeded all expectations" and for that reason, although it is still "early", Rodríguez said that her team was looking into hosting the event again next year.
"We have shown that we are more than capable of organising an event of this magnitude. We hope that Mijas can become a benchmark for sport," she concluded.