Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Cincinnati Masters: Awful Start for Croatian Players as Čilić, Karlović, Martić Out

August 13, 2019 - Marin Čilić, Ivo Karlović, and Petra Martić are out in the first round of the Cincinnati Masters. 

Croatian tennis players did not have the best start to the Cincinnati Masters on Monday, known as the oldest tennis tournament in the United States played in its original city, announces HTS.

Namely, Marin Čilić had a swift goodbye to the Masters 1000 Series tournament in Cincinnati. The 2016 winner of the competition and 14th seed was knocked out in the first round by Moldovan Radu Albot (39th on the ATP list) - 6:4, 7:6 (6).

It was an unconvincing and underwhelming performance by Čilić who managed 41 unforced errors during the match (Albot only had 21) and did not use any of the six break points. He lost the first set after the break in the third game, and in the second set, he missed six set points - two at the 5:4 lead, two at 6:5 (15:40), and two in the tie-break leading 6:4. Čilić managed a double fault on his only set point on his serve (6: 5 in the tie-break). 

It was their second encounter and the first victory for the Moldovan player. Marin did not defend points from last year's semifinal, and with this defeat, he has dropped out of the top 20 in the ATP list and is currently ranked 22nd.

After Toronto, Petra Martić finished her performance in the first round of the WTA portion of the tournament in Cincinnati. Croatia’s best female tennis player lost to the ninth-best tennis player in the world, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka - 6:1, 6:4.

Petra couldn’t catch the right rhythm throughout the match - the first set was settled after the Belarusian led 5:0, though it was a much more equal encounter for the remainder of the match. Martić had a break point to lead 3:2, but in the next game, she lost her first strike, which decided the match. In the 10th game, Petra had three break points (0:40) to return to the match, but Sabalenka managed to keep her serve (saving all seven break points in the match) and the winner was decided in two sets.

After brilliantly completing two qualifying rounds, Ivo Karlović was not able to continue his run in Cincinnati on Monday. Karlović struggled to find the right solution for the ever-better German Jan-Lennard Struff (36th on the ATP list), who dominated Ivo in two sets - 7:5, 7:6 (4).

The only break in the match occurred in the 12th game of the first set, with both players holding their first strikes for the remainder of the game. The game was ultimately decided in a tie-break where Ivo led 4:3, but by the end of the match, he had not even won a point. The Zagreb native achieved 16 aces, had a first-serve percentage of 62 percent,  and did not have a break point during the match.

However, not all hope is lost. The first-round duel of Borna Ćorić and American Reilly Opelka was interrupted by rain at 6:4, 3:6, 4:3. The American player is serving in the eighth game of the third set, and Ćorić has a 0:15 lead. The winner of the match will play against Alex de Minaur of Australia who defeated Italian Marco Cecchinato (5) 6:7, 6:1, 6:2.

The remaining Croatian female representative, Donna Vekić, will play her first-round match at 5 pm Croatian time on Tuesday against Czech Katerina Siniakova.

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Thursday, 8 August 2019

Canadian Open: Marin Čilić Last Croatian Standing, Moves into Round of 16

August 8, 2019 - Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić topped John Millman in the Canadian Open round of 32, thus equalizing his best result at the tournament in 2011.

Marin Čilić (16th on the ATP ranking) advanced to the 3rd round of the ATP Masters 1000 Tournament in Montreal after he celebrated 6:3, 6:6 against Australian John Millman (65th on the ATP ranking) after 75 minutes of play, reports Gol.hr.

It was the second match between the 30-year-old Croatian tennis player and his Australian opponent and the second victory for Čilić, who did not let the 20-minute rain break disturb his game when he led 6:3, 4:2.

After losing his serve in the third game, Čilić immediately returned in the next game and dominated the court. Another break in the eighth game brought him the first set, and he gained the advantage in the second set right at the start and was close to securing the 3rd round until the match was interrupted by rain.

After a 20-minute break, Millman held his serve, but with losing one point in the tenth game, Čilić served for the win. 

Marin’s first serve percentage was 67%, leaving Millman with only one opportunity to break, which the Australian also realized. When Čilić put the first serve in, he won 81% of the points, had a second serve percentage of 50%, and took advantage of four break opportunities. The match ended with seven aces and no double faults.

This is only Čilić’s fourth appearance at the Canadian Open when Montreal is the host, and with the victory over Millman, he equalized his best result from 2011, when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the 3rd round. 

To qualify for the quarterfinal, Čilić will play against the 2nd-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem. Rain was announced in Montreal on Wednesday, which could significantly disrupt Thursday’s program. 

Borna Ćorić was not as lucky in the Canadian Open, losing to Adrian Mannarino in the round of 32 on Wednesday. Donna Vekić also lost in the round of 32 in the WTA Rogers Cup in Toronto to Svetlana Kuznetsova.

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Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Canadian Open: Marin Čilić and Borna Ćorić Move to 2nd Round

August 7, 2019 - Marin Čilić and Borna Ćorić are into the 2nd round of the Canadian Open!

Marin Čilić took the first step on Tuesday at the ATP Masters 1000 Series tournament in Montreal, Canada, advancing to the 2nd round after defeating US qualifier Bradley Klahn (92nd on the ATP ranking) - 6:3, 7:6 (7), announced HTS.

The Croatian tennis player was more convincing in the first half of the match, where he took the service of his American opponent twice. In the rest of the match, both players held their first strike until a tie-break where Marin led 5:3, saved the set point at 5:6, and eventually used the second match point. 

Čilić achieved two aces (Klahn had 19!) and realized an exceptionally high 68 percent of his first serve. He also used two of four break points (Klahn had no opportunity to break). In the second round, Čilić will play Australian John Millman.

Borna Ćorić joins Marin Čilić in the 2nd round of the Canadian Open. Croatia’s current best male tennis player beat last week's Washington Open semifinalist, German Peter Gojowczyk (85th on the ATP ranking) in a tennis thriller - 2:6, 6:1. 7:6 (2).

The Zagreb native easily lost the first set, only to return in great style in the second. In the decisive set, both players held their first strike firmly, with the most excitement seen in game 12 when at 5:6, Borna saved two match points (15:40). He ultimately won thanks to a tie-break. 

Borna achieved 16 aces (and realized 67 percent of his first serve) and used two of his four break points in the match. In the second round, Borna awaits French player Adrian Mannarino (69th on the ATP ranking), who celebrated in all three of their previous encounters. 

Donna Vekić also managed a big win in the 1st round of the WTA Tournament in Toronto, topping the 17th best tennis player in the world, Madison Keys, 3:6, 7:6(5), 7:6 (5) after two and a half hours of play. 

It looked as if the American was on her way to winning it all. Keys won the first set and after a break in the ninth game of the second set, at 5: 4, she served for a spot in the 2nd round. Keys had three match points in a row (40-0) before Donna miraculously broke her, later achieved a tie-break and equalized Keys in sets. 

In the decisive set at 6:5, Donna served for the win, though it wasn’t until a new tie-break that she secured her spot in the next round. Donna’s next rival is the Russian veteran, 34-year-old Svetlana Kuznetsova (198th on the WTA ranking). They have played on three occasions so far, and the Russian has two wins.

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Saturday, 3 August 2019

WTA San Jose: Donna Vekić Advances to Semi-final!

August 3, 2019 - Donna Vekić has advanced to her fifth semi-final of the year on the WTA Tour!

Croatian tennis player Donna Vekić has made it to the semi-final of the WTA Tournament in San Jose (Silicon Valley Classic) by winning in two sets (7-5 and 6-0) against American Kristie Ahn in the quarter-final. Vekić won after an hour and 27 minutes of play, reports Gol.hr.

However, Vekić weakly opened her first match against the American player. She lost her opening first strike already in the second game, and after half an hour of play, she was behind 3-5. But for the rest of the hour, the Croatian player only put winning games up on the scoreboard.

Vekić saved one set point and then won nine games in a row for her fifth semi-final of the year. Thus far, Vekić has celebrated twice and lost twice in WTA semi-finals.

Vekić will play against Belarusian Arina Sabalenka in the semi-final on Sunday. This will be their fourth encounter, and Vekić has celebrated in all three of the meetings thus far. 

On the other side of the coast in Washington D.C., Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić failed to reach the semi-final of the Washington Open. Marin lost to Russian Danil Medvedev 6-4, 7-6 (7) in the quarter-final after an hour and 35 minutes of play, reports Gol.hr.

This was the first match between the 30-year-old Čilć and Medvedev, who is seven years younger than the Croatian player and is currently ranked 10th in the ATP rankings.

Čilić played a great match against Medvedev, but in crucial moments he still failed to play his best and remained without the victory. 

Throughout the match, Medvedev served superbly, and Čilić failed to secure a single break point, while the Russian had only two chances in the fifth game of the first set and used the second for the only break in the match.

In the tie-break of the second set, both players scored points on their first strike at 8-7 for Medvedev, though Čilić ultimately sent the ball out to lose the match.

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Tuesday, 30 July 2019

New ATP and WTA Rankings Out: Ćorić and Vekić Move Up!

Croatia's best tennis player Borna Ćorić advanced one place in the latest ATP rankings released on Monday and is now the 14th best tennis player in the world, while Marin Čilić remains in 17th place, reports HRT on July 29,  2019.

Ivo Karlović also registered progress and has climbed to the 80th position, while Viktor Galović dropped 21 places and is now the 221st best tennis player in the world. Nino Serdarušić advanced three spots to the 269th position.

This ATP ranking also showed no changes at the top. The top spot is convincingly held by Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, while Spanish player Rafael Nadal is in second and Swiss player Roger Federer is in third. 

ATP Ranking, July 29, 2019:

1. (1) Novak Djokovic 12.415 

 2. (2) Rafael Nadal 7.945

 3. (3) Roger Federer 7.460

 4. (4) Dominic Thiem 4.595 

 5. (5) Alexander Zverev 4.415

 6. (6) Stefanos Tsitsipas 4.045

 7. (7) Kei Nishikori 4.040

 8. (8) Karen Chatschanow   2.890

 9. (10) Fabio Fognini  2.625 

10. (9) Daniil Medwedew 2.625


14. (15) BORNA ĆORIĆ 2.195    

17.(17) MARIN ČILIĆ 1.940    

 80. (81) IVO KARLOVIĆ 659

 221. (200) VIKTOR GALOVIĆ 211

 269. (272) NINO SERDARUŠIĆ 147

Croatia's best female tennis player Petra Martić remains in the 21st position in the latest WTA rankings released on Monday, while Donna Vekić has advanced one place and is now the 25th best female tennis player in the world.

Teresa Mrdeža has advanced six places, from 210th to 204th, and Jana Fett jumped 26 spots to be the 290th best in the world. Tena Lukas dropped eight places to 371st.

There are no changes among the WTA leaders. At the top is Australian Ashleigh Barty, followed by Japanese player Naomi Osaka, and Czech player Caroline Pliskova in third. 

WTA Ranking, July 29:

1. (1) Ashleigh Barty 6.605

2. (2) Naomi Osaka 6.257

3. (3) Karolina Pliškova 6.055

4. (4) Simona Halep 5.933    

5. (5) Kiki Bertens 5.130

6. (6) Petra Kvitova 4.785

7. (7) Elina Svitolina 4.638

8. (8) Sloane Stephens 3.802

9. (9) Serena Williams 3.411

10.( 10) Aryna Sabalenka 3.365


21.(21)    PETRA MARTIĆ 2.156

25. (26)    DONNA VEKIĆ 1.950    

204. ( 210) TEREZA MRDEŽA 294

290. (316) JANA FETT 176

371. (363) TENA LUKAS 109

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Saturday, 29 June 2019

Borna Ćorić Pulls Out of Wimbledon Due to Back Injury

June 29, 2019 - Croatia’s current best tennis player Borna Ćorić has canceled his performance at Wimbledon this year. 

Borna Ćorić will not play at the Wimbledon tournament this season after he failed to recover from a back injury he earned in the quarter-final of the Halle Open in Germany last week; a tournament he won back in 2018.

Recall, Ćorić retired in the quarter-final of the tournament after losing the first set. He’s been rehabilitating since the game on June 21, though there wasn’t enough time until Wimbledon to fully recover.

Ćorić, as the 14th seed of Wimbledon, was supposed to play against Slovenia's Aljaž Bedene in the 1st round. Schnur has now jumped in Borna’s place. 

“I am sad to announce I have to skip Wimbledon this year. Minor injury with bad timing will keep me out for 7-10 days. I was really looking forward to playing in London, but I have to concentrate on my recovery now and hopefully I will get to London in the end of a year :),” Borna wrote to his followers on Twitter.

"Positive thing in all this is I am going to spend some time with my family and friends :) Thanks for all the messages you guys sent me, see you in Umag," he added on his Twitter page. 

Croatia will still have two representatives the singles competition - Marin Čilić and Ivo Karlović. 

Marin Čilić, the 13th seed of Wimbledon, will play in the second round against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who he's played twice and defeated once. If Ćorić wins, he awaits the winner of Portuguese player Joao Sousa and British player Paul Jubb.

Ivo Karlović’s opponent in the first round is Italian Andrea Arnaboldi, the 209th tennis player in the world, who he has not met thus far. If the 40-year-old advances to the second round, he awaits the winner of Greek player Stefan Tsitsipas, the 7th seed of the tournament, and Italian Thomas Fabian.

The third Grand Slam tournament season begins on Monday.

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Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Halle Open: Borna Ćorić Moves into Quarterfinal!

Borna Ćorić has advanced to the quarterfinal of the ATP tournament in Halle!  

Croatia’s best tennis player Borna Ćorić advanced to the quarterfinal of the ATP tournament in Halle, and is hoping to defend the title he won last year, reports Gol.hr on June 19, 2019. 

After defeating Spaniard Jaume Munar 7-6 (2) 6-3, Ćorić defeated Portuguese player Joao Sousa 7-6 (4), 5-7, 7-6 (4 ) to continue his winning streak in Halle.

Recall, last year Ćorić secured five wins (Alexander Zverev, Nikoloz Basilasvili, Andreas Seppi, Roberto Bautista Agut, Roger Federer) to win his second career title. The winning series continued against Munar, and now against Sousa. In the quarterfinal, Ćorić will play against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

It was an exhausting match that lasted almost three hours and was solved in the thirteenth game of the third set. In the first set, the 30-year-old Portuguese player took the lead first. At 3-2 he had a break; however, Ćorić returned the lost service in the next game to equalize at 4-4. The first set came to the thirteenth game. Sousa had a mini break and led 2-0. Ćorić equalized at 2-2 and led 5-3. Sousa decreased his lead to 5-4, though Ćorić managed to lead 7-4 to win the first set.

In the second set, Ćorić had two break points at 2-0, though Sousa saved them and took the game to 5-5. Unfortunately, in the eleventh game, Sousa took Borna’s service and won the second set.

The third set was equal and the game fell to a tie break. Sousa led 3-1 with a mini-break, though a great series by Ćorić secured him six points, and Sousa just one.

In the quarterfinal, Ćorić awaits the 43rd best tennis player in the world, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who in the 2nd round was better than Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

Ćorić and the 28-year-old French player have met four times so far, and each player has two wins. Ćorić won the last two games - this year in Monte Carlo and Madrid in 2017. Herbert was better in the Wimbledon qualifiers in 2014 and a year earlier at the Yokohama Challenger.

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Sunday, 2 June 2019

Roland Garros: Petra Martić into Quarters, Vekić Out

Petra Martić will play in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros! After a great battle in the round of 16, Petra came to the victory over Estonian Kaia Kanepi (WTA-88) after two hours and 14 minutes of play. Martić won 5:7, 6:2, 6:4 in her greatest career success, reports HTS on June 2, 2019. 

It was a match full of excitement, with ups and downs on both sides. Kanepi won the first set after Petra had the 3:2 advantage and service, while in the second set she led 2:0. It seemed then that Kanepi was going for the win, but Martić was able to come back, and with six consecutive games, she equalized Kanepi in sets. 

Kanepi started strong in the third set, and on her service, she led 3:0, but Petra again turned the game around and took the next three games to lead 3:2. Kanepi came back for 4:3 and had four break points for 5:3, but Petra came out of the hurdle and in the ninth game had a crucial break. At 5:4 she served for her first quarterfinal of a Grand Slam tournament - and that’s after her fifth appearance in the round of 16. 

With this victory, Martić achieved a new career ranking on the ATP list (23rd place) and in the quarters will play against Markéta Vondroušová, 38th on the WTA list. So far, these two have met on four occasions,and the last time a month ago in the final of Istanbul. Petra has won all four games. 

Donna Vekić was not as lucky and failed to overcome Johanna Konta in the round of 16. Konta celebrated 6:2, 6:4 after an hour and 25 minutes of play. It was their seventh match and the fourth win for Konta.

Throughout most of the match, the British tennis player was better and utilized her chances. In the first three games, we saw three breaks, and since Vekić served first, she was already behind. By the end of the first set, Vekić lost her service and missed five chances to break. All in all, Konta showed much more.

The players went six games without a break, then Konta took away Vekić’s service who immediately returned in the same way and leveled at 4:4. However, the British player then reached 0:40, Vekić saved two break chances, but not the third. After that, Konta easily concluded the match for the win. 

Croatia still has other representatives at Roland Garros. Namely, Nikola Mektić will play in the mixed doubles quarters with partner Alicja Rosolska on Monday, while Ivan Dodig will play in the round of 16 with Latisha Chan on Sunday. Mate Pavić and partner Oliver Marach will play in the men's doubles round of 16 on Sunday. 

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Saturday, 1 June 2019

Roland Garros: Borna Ćorić Out After Thrilling Five Sets in Round of 32

June 1, 2019 - After Friday’s thrilling performances by Petra Martić and Donna Vekić, which launched them into the round of 16 of Roland Garros, Borna Ćorić lost in the round of 32 on Saturday against German player Jan-Lennard Struff 6:4, 1:6, 6:4, 6:7(1), 6:4, 9:11, reports HTS.

It was a match that started well for Borna, who won the first set of the game with a score of 6:4. In the second set, Struff returned with 6:1 and although Ćorić won the third with 6:4, he lost the fourth in the tie-break.

In the fifth set, Ćorić had the break at 2:2, but Struff immediately replied. At 4:4, Ćorić had the chance to turn the game around, though he did not realize his chance. At 6:6, Borna had three chances to break, used the third and served to win, but the brave German returned - and at 8:7 he had 0 to 30 on Borna’s service. He did not use it then but did at 10:9, when his first match point turned into a win after four and a half hours of play.

It was the fifth encounter between the two players and the third win for Struff. 

Mate Pavić and his Austrian doubles partner Oliver Marach will also play in the round of 16 of Roland Garros after defeating French duo Elliot Benchetrit and Geoffrey Blancaneaux - 6:4, 7:5.

Ivan Dodig and his American partner Latisha Chan will play in the mixed doubles round of 16 after defeating American Abigail Spears and Colombian Juan Sebastian Cabal - 7:6 (5), 6:2.

More soon...

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Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Roland Garros: Martić and Vekić into Third Round, Čilić Out

May 29, 2019 - Petra Martić, Donna Vekić, and Marin Čilić played in the second round of Roland Garros in Paris on Wednesday, announces HTS

Petra Martić continues with great performances at this year's Roland Garros. After quickly overcoming Tunisian player Jabeur (in just 66 minutes), Martić defeated French national Kristina Mladenovic (WTA-53) in two games - 6:2, 6:1.

Two breaks in the first and three in the second set were enough for Petra to convincingly win over Mladneovic, who took Martić’s service for the first time in the first game of the second set, and then lost six consecutive games. Martić, who hit three aces with 70 percent of the first service, made only nine unforced errors during the match and lost only 13 points to her service. Petra’s next rival will be the second-best tennis player in the world, Czech national Karolina Plíšková. So far they've played on four occasions, and Petra has three wins. 

Donna Vekić also moves forward in Roland Garros. The Osijek native advanced to the round of 32 of the Paris tournament on Wednesday for the second time in her career after defeating Swedish player Rebecca Peterson (WTA-63) - 1:6, 6: 1, 6:2.

The first set convincingly went to Peterson, but we saw the dominance of Vekić who won 10 of the next 11 games, and was up to a 4:0 lead in the decisive set. Peterson managed to reduce Vekić’s advantage to 4:2, but that was all she was able to do in this duel. With this win, Donna moves to the 21st position on the WTA list, which is her new career ranking. Her chance to enter the company of the 20 best tennis players in the world will be in the 3rd round against the winner of the Bencic - Siegemund match.

Marin Čilić goes home early from this year's appearance at Roland Garros. Croatia’s best male tennis player lost in the second round after a giant five-set game (and almost four and a half hours of play). Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (ATP-46) won 6:7 (3), 6:4, 4:6, 7:6 (2), 6:3.

Marin played a good match and fought to the last point, but Dimitrov eventually found the path to success. Dimitrov was behind 2:1, but managed to get back and take the next two sets. In the final set, Marin lost his service twice and allowed his opponent to lead 5:2. Dimitrov then served to win, Čilić managed to break, but then lost his first strike and then the match. Čilić had 13 aces, with 53 percent of his first service and 58 unforced errors (Dimitrov had 45). It was their sixth meeting and the second win of the Bulgarian tennis player.

Borna Ćorić will face Lloyd Harris, while Ivo Karlović will face Jordan Thompson on Thursday in the second round.

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