Friday, 19 November 2021

No. 1 Seed Mektić and Pavić Move to Nitto ATP Finals Semi-Finals in Turin!

November 19, 2021 - The No. 1 doubles team in the world, Croatian tennis players Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić, advanced to the Nitto ATP Finals semi-finals in Turin!

In the last match of the Green Group, they defeated Croatian tennis player Ivan Dodig and his Slovak partner Filip Polašek 6-4, 7-6 (6).

The Tokyo Olympic gold medalists thus remained in the competition to win their tenth tournament in 2021.

A break at 2:2 was enough for Mektić and Pavić to win the first set. With a 4:2 advantage, Mektić and Pavić had four consecutive break points and a 5:2 advantage, but Dodig and Polašek combined a few great points and stayed in the game.

And it nearly paid off for them, because with the Croatian duo's 5-4 advantage, Dodig and Polašek had two chances to equalize, but Pavič nailed two great serves to win the first set. 

Dodig and Polašek started the second set better and took the serve from Pavić for 2:0, but the Croatian aces immediately returned on Dodig's serve. By the end of the set, Pavić excelled with three fantastic returns in the tie break. With one, Pavić secured the second match point.

With two victories and one defeat, Mektić and Pavić took second place in the Green Group. Their semifinal opponent, which will be the winners of the Red Group, will be learned on Friday.

Dodig and Polašek finished third in the group with one win and two defeats.

First place in this group was secured by Spaniard Marcel Granollers and Argentinean Horacio Zeballos with victories against Dodig and Polašek and Mektić and Pavić in the first two rounds. On Thursday, they lost an unimportant duel to German Kevin Krawietz and Romanian Horia Tecau, who remained last in the group despite the victory.

The Nitto ATP Finals crown the end of the ATP Tour season, featuring only the world's best eight qualified singles players and doubles teams. The tournament is held at Turin’s Pala Alpitour stadium, Italy’s largest indoor sporting arena, from 2021-2025. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic Going After Olympic Medal as Croatian Doubles Team

November 24, 2020 - Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic will take on the tennis world next year as a doubles team, and an Olympic medal is certainly on their minds. 

HRT reports that the winner of the ATP Finals in doubles, Nikola Mektic, arrived in Zagreb on Monday evening and was greeted at the Franjo Tuđman Airport by the president of the Croatian Tennis Federation, Nikolina Babic, and numerous journalists.

Nikola Mektic and Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof won the ATP Finals in London on Sunday after beating Austria's Juergen Melzer and France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 in the final match of the season. Mektic and Koolhof could not have wished for a better ending, and closed out their one-year collaboration with a triumph at the London Crown.

At the same time, with this victory, Mektic became the first Croatian to win the ATP Finals. The closest to the title so far was Ivan Dodig, who lost to Bob and Mike Bryan in the final six years ago with partner Marcelo Melo.

"I experienced my first welcome which indicates that I must have done something great. It’s an amazing feeling I’m not yet aware of. I did not expect this success since there were a couple of extraordinary situations, i.e., changes of partners, and before the start of the tournament we had to have a difficult conversation. I didn't know how everything would turn out in the end, but from the first match, we managed to do everything professionally. The first duel was a bit harder, we got out of it and then we got better from match to match. We believed that we could beat everyone, but we did not hope for such success," said Mektic and added:

"The first reactions are really strange and as soon as I went to my box I wanted to celebrate the victory with my boys who are equally responsible for all this. Those few minutes are an indescribable feeling. Now I’m going to dedicate a little to rest. I hope that the Australian Open will still happen in January, and preparations await us soon."

Next season, Nikola Mektic will play in pairs with Mate Pavic, another Croatian doubles expert.

"Mate Pavic and I used to talk about cooperation in the past, but it did not happen. We had a desire to play together and it suddenly happened. When Mate asked me I agreed because he is the best in the world and it’s a call I couldn’t refuse. I believe it will be an incredible partnership and I am looking forward to it," said Mektic.

One of the journalists' inquiries was whether Croatia can expect an Olympic medal in Tokyo from Mektic and Pavic.

"Yes, and our results speak in favor of that. The expectations of the public are high, but we have also set big goals. We are aware of our quality and we are ready for that challenge," said Mektic.

"This is a great success for Mektic, but also Croatian sports and tennis, and we are very proud. This is a continuation of the preparations for next year, in which the Olympic Games in Tokyo and the new Davis Cup await us, and every success is very important. We can say that this year our players have achieved success, both seniors and younger," said the president of HTS Nikolina Babić.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Monday, 23 November 2020

Nikola Mektic Becomes First Croatian to Win ATP Finals

November 23, 2020 - Nikola Mektic becomes the first Croatian to win ATP Finals, which were completed in London on Sunday evening. Mektic won in the doubles final with Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof. reports that Croatian doubles star Mektic and Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof won the ATP World Finals title after defeating Austrian Juergen Melzer and Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6:2, 3:6, 10:5 in the final match of the season on Sunday.

"I can't express how I feel. I am really overjoyed, this is a dream come true," said Mektic, who was delighted to win the ATP Finals in London alongside partner Wesley Koolhof.

"It has already been a great success for us to qualify for this event. We played well throughout the tournament, especially in the semi-final and final. I am overjoyed to have won," the Dutchman added.

The Croatian-Dutch duo arrived in London for the tournament of the best eight doubles teams of the season as the fifth seed. On the way to the title, they lost only one match, the third in the group against Kubot and Melo when they had already secured a place in the semifinals.

Interestingly, it was their last match together because next year, they will take on the tennis world with other partners. Mektic will thus join his Croatia teammate Mate Pavic.

The Croatian tennis player won 254 thousand dollars with the title in London, which is about 1.6 million kuna. Mektic earned a total of $2.3 million in his career or about 15 million kuna.

"Wes, thank you very much. This is our first joint title. Not bad for the first," Mektic said with a smile.

"It was a great tournament for us and an amazing way to end the year," the Croatian tennis player added.

This was their third final this year and their first title since they were defeated in Marseille and at the US Open.

With this victory, Mektic becomes the first Croatian to win the title at the end of the ATP season. The closest to the title so far was Ivan Dodig, who lost to Bob and Mike Bryan six years ago with partner Marcelo Melo.

Before Koolhof, three other Dutchmen celebrated in the ATP Finals, Jacco Eltingh and Paul Haarhuis together in doubles (1993, 1998), and Jean-Julien Rojer (2015).

This was Mektic's 16th final in his career, and his eighth title.

One thing is certain -  Mektic and Koolhof couldn't have wished for a better end to their chapter together - by winning the London Crown.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek Among Top 8 in World, Secure Spot in ATP Finals

November 2, 2019 - Ivan Dodig and partner Filip Polasek have advanced to the semifinal of the Paris Masters - and booked a spot in the ATP Finals in London!

Croatian tennis player Ivan Dodig and Slovakian partner Filip Polasek are among the top eight doubles teams in the world to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held in London from November 10 to 17, 2019. 

Dodig and Polasek advanced to the semifinal of the Masters 1000 Series ATP tournament in Bercy (Paris Masters) with a victory over American Rajeev Ram and British player Joe Salisbury in the quarters - 6:3, 6:7 (5), 10:7, though this success was not ultimately necessary for them to book a spot in London.

Namely, the legendary Americans Bob and Mike Bryan (seventh in the ‘Race for London’) pulled out of all tournaments until the end 2019, thus virtually securing Dodig and Polasek a spot among the eight best doubles teams. 

Of course, it helped that Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut celebrated in the quarterfinal of the Paris Masters against Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin, who still had a theoretical chance to skip ahead of Dodig and Polasek - that is, if they won the title. 

This is an excellent success for Dodig and Polasek, who have only been playing together since June this year, and who already have titles from Cincinnati and Beijing and can boast the Wimbledon semifinal.

This will be Dodig’s sixth appearance in the ATP Finals with three different partners. Dodig has played four finals so far with Brazilian Marcelo Melo (2013 - 2016) and in 2017 with Spanish player Marcel Granollers. This will be Polasek’s first appearance in the final.

The Croat and the Slovakian team thus continue their march in Bercy, and their rivals for a spot in Sunday's final will be Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov, who defeated Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov in the quarters. 

Source: HTS

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Thursday, 15 November 2018

ATP Finals: Čilić Comes Back to Win Against Isner, Djokovic Next

In the 2nd round of the Guga Kuerten group of the ATP Finals at London's O2 Arena, Croatia's best tennis player Marin Čilić defeated American John Isner 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4 to keep his hopes alive for the semi-finals.