Sunday, 27 March 2022

Marin Čilić Eases into Miami Open 3rd Round after Beating Alexei Popyrin

March 27, 2022 - Marin Čilić lost only three games on his way to the Miami Open 3rd round, defeating Australian Alexei Popyrin 6:0, 6:3 on Saturday.

Marin Čilić flew by Popyrin in the 2nd round of the ATP tournament in Miami on Saturday! Namely, it took only 55 minutes for Marin Čilić to win the second round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Miami. Croatia's best male tennis player lost only three games to the 92nd-best tennis player in the world, Australian Alexei Popyrin - 6:0, 6:3.

In the match, the posied Marin won the first nine games and quickly resolved all doubts about the winner. The Croatian tennis player immediately took a 3-0 lead in the second set and kept the advantage until the end for the final victory.

He scored six aces with a first-serve percentage of 68 percent. He also did not allow his opponent a single break.

Marin will face the new star of the tennis world, 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz (16th on the ATP list). This will be their second meeting, while Čilić won the first test last year. Carlos Alcaraz defeated Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6:3, 6:2 in the 2nd round. 

Recall, Croatian tennis player Borna Ćorić lost to German Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 3-6 in the second round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Miami. It was their seventh meeting and the fourth victory for the world #4 player and the tournament's second seed. However, this match showed that Borna is slowly getting into the right shape after a long break due to injury. 

Furthermore, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić also advanced to the 2nd round of Miami. The best doubles team in the world last year surpassed the Georgian-Serbian side of Nikoloz Basilashvili / Laszlo Gere in the first round - 7-6 (3), 6-1. They will face Canadian Denis Shapovalov and Indian Rohan Bopanna in the round of 16 tonight around 22:00 Croatia time. 

Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo also had an easy victory in the first round of the Miami tournament. The Croatian-Brazilian duo defeated Belgians Sander Gille and Goran Vliegen in two sets - 6-4, 6-1. They will next meet Italians Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini in the 2nd round. 

After an early defeat in the singles competition, Ana Konjuh successfully continued her performance in doubles at the WTA 1000 tournament in Miami. Konjuh and Swiss partner Belinda Bencic defeated Angelina Kalinin and Jelena Ribakina 6-2, 6-7 (4), 10-7.

Konjuh and Bencic lost in the decisive super tie-break with 7-3, after which they won seven consecutive points.

Source: HTS

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Friday, 7 January 2022

Marin Čilić into Adelaide International Semifinals, Konjuh Knocked Out of Melbourne Summer Set

January 7, 2022 - A great start to the year for Marin Čilić who reached the Adelaide International semifinals on Friday!

Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić advanced to the semifinals of the ATP tournament in Adelaide after defeating Serbian Laszlo Đere (ATP-52) 6-3, 6-2 in the quarterfinal match, reports HRT.

Čilić had a break advantage in the sixth game of the first set and took a 4-2 lead, and then confirmed the break on his serve. With a 5-2 lead on the opponent's serve, he had three set points, but failed to realize them. He ultimately won the first set on his serve. 

In the second set, Čilić was even better with two break points, one in the third and one in the fifth game, and used both and came to victory after 68 minutes of play.

It was the second duel between Čilić and Đere and Marin celebrated in both. In the semifinals, Čilić will play against the winner of the match between Belarusian Egor Gerasimov and Russian Karen Khachanov.

HRT adds that Croatian tennis player Ana Konjuh lost in the quarterfinals of the WTA tournament Melbourne Summer Set 1 to Qinwen Zheng (WTA - 126) with a score of 6-7 (1), 6-7 (6).

Ana Konjuh was the first to encounter problems with her serve, and in the third game, she managed to save one break point. However, Qinwen Zheng did not miss her second chance in the fifth game. Konjuh won back the serve in the next game, and saved another break point at 4-4, forcing the set to a tie-break, which Zheng convincingly won 7-1.

In the second set, only Konjuh had a chance to break. At 2-2, she missed two chances to take the serve and the set ended again in a tie-break in which the Croatian took a 5-1 lead. It seemed that the match could go to the third set, then Qinwen Zheng won seven of the next eight points and after 2 hours and 8 minutes of play advanced to the semifinals.

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Sunday, 7 November 2021

Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić Finish as World #1 Doubles Team in 2021

November 7, 2021 - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić are the world's #1 doubles team in 2021! 

On the ATP ranking, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić will finish 2021 as the world's best doubles team. Only American Rajeev Ram and Briton Joe Salisbury threatened to catch Pavić and Mektić, though thanks to the outcome of the Paris Masters, the Croatian duo was unattainable. 

This is the third time Pavić has finished the year as part of the world's best doubles team, and Nikola Mektić is the third partner with whom Pavić reached the top. Last year, Pavić and Brazilian partner Bruno Soares were named #1, and in 2018, he was the best in combination with Austrian partner Oliver Marach.

"I'm thrilled. True, this is my third time in the last four years with a third partner, but I achieved it for the first time with a Croatian, which is a great achievement for us personally, but also for Croatian tennis in general," said Mate Pavić in a statement from ATP Tour.

Mektić will finish at the top of the ATP rankings for the first time this year.

"It is a nice achievement, especially after a season like the one we had. I was looking forward to it. When I saw how we were doing, it became one of the goals. It is nice to end the year at number 1, which is the crown of the whole season in which we had nice victories and great titles," said Nikola Mektić.

In a year full of success, the 32-year-old from Zagreb and the 28-year-old from Split won nine titles, including the Wimbledon trophy and a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Mektić and Pavić will still play in the final tournament of the eight best doubles teams in the world, where the Zagreb man triumphed last year with Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof. But, on the other hand, it is one of the few trophies Pavić does not have in his collection.

"We had a great season, and we are looking forward to playing in Turin at this year's ATP Final. We will try to end the season the way we started it," said Pavić.

ATP President Andrea Gaudenzi also congratulated the Croatian duo.

"Congratulations to Nikola and Mate on an exceptional season and number 1. It is impressive how they started the season and how much success they had in their first year together, and we should be proud of our achievements," said Gaudenzi.

Mektić and Pavić will be the first-seed at the ATP Finals, hosted in Turin for the first time from November 14 to 21, after the final tournament was played in London's O2 Arena from 2009 to 2020.

After the ATP Finals, Nikola and Mate will play for the Croatia Davis Cup national team again in Turin. They will play the group stage against Australia on November 25 and against Hungary on November 28.

Source: HRT

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Saturday, 30 October 2021

"Russia Loves Čilić": Marin Secures St. Petersburg Open Final!

October 30, 2021 - Marin Čilić is on fire, advancing to his second final in one week - this time the St. Petersburg Open final! 

Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić reached an ATP Tour final for the second week in a row, reports HRT.

After playing in the final of the Moscow tournament a week ago, this week, he reached the final in St. Petersburg, defeating Dutchman Botica van de Zandschulp in the semifinal in just one hour and nine minutes of play (6:3, 6:3).

Čilić completely dominated against the 26-year-old Dutchman, who played in his first semifinal on the ATP Tour on Saturday, served excellently, had a first-serve percentage of 69 percent, and did not allow his opponent a single break point. Moreover, Van de Zandschulp did not even equalize in any of Čilić's service games.

On the other hand, Čilić had one break in the first set, using the third of three tied break points in the sixth game, while in the second set he took the serve twice, the first time at 1:1, and the second time with a 5:3 advantage, which ended the match.

This will be Marin's 35th appearance in an ATP tournament final and the third in 2021. He won Stuttgart in June, his 19th title, while losing in the Moscow final last week.

To win his second title in St. Petersburg, the first of which he won exactly ten years ago, Čilić must face American Taylor Fritz, who in the first semifinal defeated German Jan-Lennard Struff 5:7, 6:1, 6:3.

It will be Fritz's first final in 2021. He last played in the final in Acapulco in February last year, and so far has won only one title in Eastbourne 2019.

Čilić and Fritz met only once, four years ago in Indian Wells, and the American tennis player was better.

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Saturday, 26 June 2021

Unstoppable Duo: Croatian Doubles Team Wins 7th Joint ATP Title!

June 26, 2021 - The celebrated Croatian doubles team of Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić have won the ATP tournament in Eastbourne after beating the American-British duo Rajeev Ram - Joe Salisbury 6-4, 6-3 in the final on Friday.

In the Eastbourne International final match that lasted an hour and three minutes, Mektić and Pavić served four aces, and the rivals made three double faults. The Croatian duo also never lost their serve, and Ram and Salisbury lost theirs 3 times, writes Gol.hr.

This was the ninth final this year for Mektić and Pavić and the 7th ATP tour title. 

"I am very happy with the title here after everything that has happened recently, getting ill in Paris. We are very happy with the way we came back, very fast, very quick. We found good form [this week]," Mektić said for ATP Tour.

“I think we played an excellent match. We have played them three times and they are always tough matches. It goes back to a few points, we saved a couple of break points, and they didn’t," added Pavić. 

The Croatian duo is now 42-6 in their first year together.

Kontaveit and Ostapenko in the women's final

At the same time, the finalists in this same tournament in the women's individual competition are known. Estonian Anett Kontaveit will play against Latvian Jelena Ostapenko.
Kontaveit secured a place in the final after her rival in the semifinals on Friday, Italian Camila Giorgi, handed over the match in the first set.

There were no indications that Giorgi had any problems until the score was 4-5, but then she said she was injured and could not continue the match.

It was the end of a great week for the Italian, the 75th tennis player in the world, who eliminated fifth seed Karolina Plišková and first seed Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka on her way to the semifinals.

Ostapenko reached the final by defeating Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina, who eliminated Serena Williams 6-4, 6-1 in the Roland Garros final this year.

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Tuesday, 6 April 2021

ATP Challenger Split Open: Round One Results

April 6, 2021 - Bernard Tomić, the main star of the ATP Challenger Split Open, was eliminated in the first round by seventh-seed Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium 6:2, 4:6, 6:3.

In the two-hour match, the Australian and former member of the Top 20 had an early "break" at the start of the third set. He saved as many as nine breaks in that set, but Coppejans, the junior winner of Roland Garros in 2012, took away Tomić's service for the 5:3 lead, followed by 0-40 on the way to the victory. In the next round, Coppejans goes against another Australian, Aleksandar Vukić, who eliminated Croatian Mili Poljičk.

Split_Open_Tomic_vs_Coppejans_26.jpg

Robert Pleško

SPLIT_OPEN_Kavcic_vs_Martineau_11.jpg

Robert Pleško

The third seed, Austrian Sebastian Ofner, lost to Argentine Andrea Collarini 6:4, 6:4, the fifth seed Danilo Petrović from Serbia easily defeated the Czech veteran Lukas Rosol 6:1, 6:3, registering his first victory this year, and the sixth seed Blaž Rola from Slovenia was successful against Kazakhstan's Dmitrij Popko (6:3, 6:4).

Split_Open_Tomic_vs_Coppejans_19.jpg

Robert Pleško

Last year's Split Open quarterfinalist Maximilian Marterer from Germany and Swede Elias Ymer also qualified for the second round, and Blaž Kavčič, Uladzimir Ignatik, Akira Santillan, and Mirza Bašić secured a place in the main tournament through the qualifications.

Split_Open_Petrovic_vs_Rosol_15.jpg

Robert Pleško

Tuesday should be a rich day in Firule, although Split's weather forecast is not very favorable, especially in the latter part of the day. The program on the Central Court at 10:30 am will be opened by Duje Ajduković and Dustin Brown, the third match at 10:30 am on Court 3 will be played by Nino Serdarušić and Jay Clarke, and the doubles tournament will start, with three Croatian pairs in action (Krolo / Mikrut, Kekez / Poljičak and the Sabanov brothers). Last year's finalist and first-seed Pedro Sousa will also play, followed by Robin Haase and Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Split_Open_Petrovic_vs_Rosol_22.jpg

Robert Pleško

ATP CHALLENGER SPLIT OPEN, Round 1
Vukić (Aus) - Poljičak (Hrv, WC) 6:1, 6:1
Petrović (Srb, 5) - Rosol (Češ) 6:1, 6:3
Collarini (Arg) - Ofner (Aut, 3) 6:4, 6:4
Marterer (Nje) - Domingues (Por) 7:5, 6:3
E. Ymer (Šve) - Muller (Fra) 6:0, 6:4
Coppejans (Bel, 7) - Tomić (Aus) 6:2, 4:6, 6:3
Rola (Slo, 6) - Popko (Kaz) 6:3, 6:4

Round 2 Qualifications
Kavčič (Slo, 1) - Martineau (Fra) 3:6, 6:3, 6:1
Ignatik (Bje, 7) - Wu (Tpe, 2) 7:6 (1), 6:3
Santillan (Aus, 3) - Zekić (Srb) 2:6, 6:3, 6:4
Bašić (BiH, 5) - Klein (Svk, 4) 6:2, 6:4

April 6, 2021

Central Court (from 10:30)
Ajduković (Hrv, WC) - Brown (Nje, PR)
Haase (Niz) - Polmans (Aus, 2)
Sousa (Por, 1) - Žuk (Polj)
Golubev/Nedovjesov (Kaz, 1) - Krolo/Mikrut (Hrv, WC)

Court 3 (from 10:30)
Bolt (Aus) - Ignatik (Bje, Q)
Bašić (BiH, Q) - Ilkel (Tur)
Clarke (VB) - Serdarušić (Hrv, WC)
Raja/Weissborn (Ind/Aut, 4) - Kekez/Poljičak (Hrv, WC)

Court 4 (from 10:30)
Safwat (Egi, 4) - Kavčič (Slo, Q)
Kokkinakis (Aus, PR) - Horansky (Svk, 8)
Santillan (Aus, Q) - Kolar (Češ, SE)
Petrović/Safwat (Srb/Egi) - I. Sabanov/M. Sabanov (Hrv)

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Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Split Open 2021: 2nd Edition of ATP Challenger Tournament to Launch in April

February 16, 2021 - Top tennis will again be enjoyed in Split's Firule neighborhood, as the Split Open 2021 ATP Challenger tournament returns for its 2nd edition.

With original plans to launch in April 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the new Split Open sporting event to the end of September and the beginning of October last year - though changing the term did not seem to affect its success. 

"The tournament returns to its original date, April. This is an extremely attractive date because this year we will play from April 12 to 18, when there is no other tournament in Europe except ours and the one in Monte Carlo. This also guarantees attractive names that do not enter the Monte Carlo draw," announced Ismar Moralić, director of the ATP Challenger in Split, for Slobodna Dalmacija.

Was it difficult to arrange a second tournament in just half a year?

"Well, not really. It is always difficult to put together the first edition; later, the story is practically arranged, the details are corrected. The financial situation caused by the pandemic is no better than last year. In short, we are working with what we have, and we believe that we will once again make the tournament at the highest possible level, which will be recognized by the audience again."

What were the reactions after the tournament last year?

"I believe that the presence of the audience is the best answer to that question. Some looked for a ticket for days. From the first day, the tournament was extremely well attended. We believe that we would have sold out the maximum capacity of the club in normal conditions. Certainly in this context, the praise of ATP should be mentioned, who themselves, in addition to exceptional organization, also emphasized that the tournament was recognized by the audience, which surprised them, especially at this pandemic time. We are just sorry that the tournament was not covered a little better by some national media, especially HRT, which did not even come close to fulfilling what they announced. When two Croatian players rank the best in their careers and enter the semifinals of one Challenger, the only Croatian professional ATP category tournament that year, and national television does not recognize it, it is clear that someone in the editorial office did not do their job well. I hope that they learned from their mistakes and that they will stick to what was agreed this year because the subscription is paid by everyone, including those who love tennis and those who play it."

What does it mean that the tournament is during the same week as Monte Carlo?

"It's extremely good for the tournament. The Monte Carlo draw is 64, which means that all tennis players who want to play in a European country have the opportunity to play only with us. I believe that we will see a certain number of players from the top 100 in Split. Especially if we take into account that last year we had a stronger draw than some tournaments from the higher category, i.e., the official calendar of the highest category."

Are there any confirmed names yet?

"It is too early to talk about that two months before the tournament; let's leave something for later. I will say that we guarantee the Split audience a strong tournament this year as well and that we do not doubt the response of the local fans, which, we believe, is the most important thing for the audience."

Would it be useful to open the stands, at least partly?

"Unfortunately, there are things that even we directors cannot influence. Tennis is played primarily for the sake of the audience, as are all sports. A tennis stadium where there are only two players in the presence of a referee is an incredibly lonely sports arena. We see what is happening now in Australia, where a lockdown is being introduced in the middle of the tournament. We hope that two months in the case of this pandemic is a very long period, that things will turn out best for the tournament, the audience, and the players themselves," concluded Moralić.

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Saturday, 9 January 2021

Croatian Tennis Veteran Ivo Karlovic Becomes Oldest Player to Win ATP Match Since Connors in '95

January 9, 2021 - Croatian tennis veteran Ivo Karlovic has become the oldest player to win an ATP match since Jimmy Connors in '95. 

24 Sata reports that 41-year-old Croatian tennis player Ivo Karlovic (ATP - 148) won his first game of the new season by defeating Spanish tennis player Pablo Andujar (ATP - 59) 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in the 1st round match of the ATP tournament in Delray Beach, USA. It took Karlovic two hours and 16 minutes of play to claim the victory. 

It was their second match, and Karlovic reached his first victory by firing 27 aces, and winning three of nine breakpoints, one in each set. 

In the second round, Karlovic will face 28-year-old Ecuadorian Roberto Quiroz (ATP - 293), who advanced to the tournament through qualifications. In the 1st round, he was better than American player Noah Rubin (ATP - 251) 7-6 (1), 6-3.

Karlovic had a decisive break in the eighth game of the first set and realized the third set point in the next. Andujar took a 2-0 lead in the second, but the Croatian veteran immediately came back. The 34-year-old Spaniard managed to take the match to the third set with a new break point in the 12th game.

With a break point in the fifth game of the decisive set, Karlovic gained an advantage that he kept until the tenth game in which he used his second match point. 

Ivo Karlovic won the title at this tournament in 2015, defeating American Donald Young in the final, and five years earlier, he was defeated in the final by Latvian Ernests Gulbis.

This is the 23rd season of Ivo’s career, and at its opening, he became the oldest player with an ATP tour win since Jimmy Connors in 1995. 

"It's true almost every match that I win, now at my age, it is history,” Karlovic said after the victory. 

Karlovic will play in the round of 16 on Sunday against Roberto Quiroz. 

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Sunday, 18 October 2020

Borna Coric in Second Straight St. Petersburg Final, this Time Against Rublev

October 18, 2020 - Croatia's best tennis player, Borna Coric, advanced to the final of the ATP tournament in St. Petersburg after defeating Canadian Milos Raonic 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the semifinal after an hour and 56 minutes of play.

Jutarnji List reports that this was the second meeting between Coric and Raonic in which Coric retaliated against the Canadian for losing in Delray Beach three years ago.

With the victory against Raonic, Coric repeated last year's result in St. Petersburg, when he also reached the final. However, last year, Russian Danil Medvedev was more successful. On Sunday, Coric will also play against a Russian opponent for the title, but it will be Andrey Rublev.

Coric's appearance in Sunday's final will be his seventh final match on the ATP Tour. So far, he has won two titles, Marrakesh 2017 and Halle 2018, while his last appearance in the final was just last year in St. Petersburg in September.

Coric lost the first set very quickly, and the key was the second game, which lasted more than 10 minutes. Coric saved three breaks, each with an excellent serve, but on the fourth, he made a double fault. Raonic then quickly reached a 5-0 lead, and thus the set.

However, in the second set, the situation changed completely. Coric started to return Raonic's powerful serve much better, and already with a 1-0 lead, he reached three breakpoints. He used the third for 2-0, which was Raonic's first lost service game in the tournament. Coric did not stop there; with an advantage of 3-0 and three excellent winners, he reached an advantage of 15-40 on the opponent's serve. Raonic missed one backhand, and Coric reached an unattainable 4-0.

At the beginning of the third set, Coric managed to save three breaks in his first service game in that set. After overcoming a small crisis, he played much better again and managed the 3-2 advantage. By the end of the match, Coric held his serve firmly for a significant victory.

"I don't know if I ever played as badly as in the first set. In the second set, I found my rhythm, played better and in the end managed to win," said Coric after the match, and then looked back at his next opponent, Rublev, against whom he's lost in all three previous duels:

"Rublev plays perhaps the best tennis of his life. I hope I will be able to play my best match on Sunday as well."

Rublev reached the final with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory against another Canadian player, Denis Shapovalov. For the 22-year-old, it will be the eighth final in his career, and he has won five titles so far.

Coric and Rublev meet today at 15:30. 

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Friday, 18 October 2019

Kremlin Cup: Marin Cilic Better than Ivo Karlovic for Spot in Quarters

October 18, 2019 - Marin Cilic booked a spot in the quarterfinal of the ATP Tournament in Moscow after defeating fellow countryman Ivo Karlovic 6:1, 7:6 in the Croatian round of 16. It was their seventh encounter and the fourth victory for Cilic.

HRT writes that Karlovic and Cilic last played two years ago in the semifinal of the Rosmalen Grass Court Championships, when Karlovic, who is nine years Cilic’s senior, celebrated in three sets.

This time, however, Marin Cilic was better and won after an hour and 24 minutes of play.

Cilic entered the match like a hurricane, and with two breaks, he led 5:0. Karlovic struggled to reduce the score to 5:1, and in the next game, Cilic safely served for a 1:0 lead in sets after 28 minutes of play.

In the first set, Karlovic had major problems with his strongest weapon, his serve. He achieved only one ace service with a modest first-serve percentage of 39 percent.

In the second set, we saw a much closer fight. 

Cilic had two break points in the first game, but the Croatian veteran saved both. Karlovic’s big opportunity came in the eighth game, when he had two consecutive and three total break opportunities, but he did not use any.

The set was eventually decided in the thirteenth game. Cilic took the lead with 4:2, Karlovic tied it at 5:5, but Marin then won two games in a row for the victory. With this victory, Cilic also booked his 500th match win.

Recall, Karlovic defeated Slovenian Aljaz Bedene in the first round 6:4, 6:7 (5), 7:6 (6), while Cilic, as the third-seed in the Kremlin Cup, was free. Cilic now awaits Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the quarterfinal, who beat Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6:3, 6:4 in the 2nd round match.

Cilic and Chardy have played five times so far, with Cilic leading 3:2 in wins. They last played two years ago in Monte Carlo, where Cilic celebrated 6:3, 6:0.

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