Monday, 16 May 2022

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić Back on Track After Defending Italian Open Doubles Title

May 16, 2022 - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić Back are back on track after defending the Italian Open doubles title on Sunday in Rome. This is great news ahead of Roland Garros next week. 

Croatian doubles team Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić defended their title at the Masters 1000 ATP tournament in Rome. This was their 15th joint final and the 10th title in total, which they have been waiting for since the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

After the semi-final victory in the early morning hours of Sunday, defeating Italians Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić did not have much time for rest. Already in the early afternoon, they had the final against American John Isner and Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

The Olympic gold medalists won 6:2, 7:6 (6), 12:10 against Isner and Schwarzman. Mektić and Pavić could have finished the match earlier after they had 5:2 in the tie-break of the second set. In the end, however, they managed to defend the title, saving one match point with Isner and Schwartzman leading 10:9 in the third set.

It was the third final for the Zagreb-Split duo in 2022 after losing in Dubai and Belgrade.

Mektić and Pavić rushed through the first set to come out on top. In the second set, both sides were strong until the 11th game, when the Croatian duo failed to break, though the American-Argentine side missed a set point in the next game.

In the tie-break, Mektić and Pavić took the lead with 5:2, but Isner and Schwartzman returned to 5:5. At 6:5, Mektić and Pavić had a match point, but the Argentine was impenetrable. At 6:6, he combined two more great points, returned on Mektić's serve, and led the match into a decisive, extended tie-break.

Mektić and Pavić were the first to reach the match point at 9:8. Isner responded with an ace, followed by another point for the American-Argentine side, and the match point. Schwartzman pulled a forehand return on Mektic's second serve but missed for 10:10.

Nikola served an ace for the third match point and welcomed John Isner's mistake to finally celebrate in Rome.

In the 15th joint final, Mektić and Pavić finally returned to the circle of winners, just before Roland Garros, where they could not compete last year due to a positive coronavirus test. 

Source: HRT

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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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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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Monday, 22 October 2018

Ivo Karlović Becomes Oldest Winner in ATP Challenger History!

The 39-year-old from Zagreb has made ATP Challenger history! 

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Dodig Wins 10th Doubles Title After Defeating Mektić and Peya in ATP Munich Final

The 33-year-old tennis player has reached the 10th doubles title of his career!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Čilić Withdraws from Cincinnati Masters

It has been a difficult season for Marin Čilić.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Karlović Beat Čilić In The Semi-finals At Rosmalen Open

The two Croatian players played for the finals of the Rosmalen Open, and it was Karlović who took the deciding tie-break

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