Monday, 23 January 2023

Fantastic Donna Vekic Advances to Australian Open Quarterfinal

January 32, 2023 - Croatian tennis player Donna Vekic advanced to the quarterfinal of the Australian Open after defeating the 17-year-old Czech Linda Fruhvirtova in the fourth round with 6:2, 1:6, 6:3 after two hours and seven minutes of play.

As Index writes, Donna Vekic played the first set brilliantly against the young Czech, hitting winners from all positions, but in the second part of the game, there was a big drop in the game of this 26-year-old Osijek player.

She lined up with unforced errors, so the third set decided the winner. Before the final set, Vekic went to the dressing room and took almost ten minutes of rest, which had a positive effect. For Vekic, this is her second entry into the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament after the US Open in 2019.

Her opponent will be fifth seed Arina Sabalenka, who knocked out Olympic winner Belinda Bencic 7:5, 6:2 in the fourth round. Vekic and Sabalenka have played six times so far, with the Croatian tennis player winning five times.

They met in the quarterfinals of San Diego (2022), at the Olympic Games (2021), in the semifinals of San Jose (2019), in the second round of Cincinnati (2017), and the first round of St. Petersburg (2016), and in the semifinals of the same tournament (2017).

"This is the first time I feel like I can win a Grand Slam"

Vekic knocked out Oksana Selehmetova, Ljudmila Samsonova, Nuria Parrizas-Diaz, and Linda Fruhvirtov on her way to her biggest success at the first Grand Slam of the season. Here is what Donna Vekic stated before the match with the Czech player:

"Everything started to fall into place at the end of last year. I played really well after the US Open; I improved a lot in Thailand and San Diego, where many wins inspired a lot of confidence. I saw that I could play at the top level again. After the surgery, it took me a year to get back to that level, and I'm glad it continues at the beginning of 2023."

"Perhaps because of all the difficulties I had with injuries, I now appreciate it more when I have the opportunity to play, especially in the biggest stadiums and tournaments. Of course, it's even better if I win; I have a clear goal in my head, tennis fulfills me, and I'm completely dedicated to achieving that goal," said Donna Vekic, then explained what that goal was.

"Every tennis player's goal is to win the Grand Slam, but the difference is that for the first time in my life, I believe I can do it," concluded the currently 64th player in the WTA ranking. The best ranking in her career was 19. She won three singles tournaments, where she earned almost 5.7 million dollars.

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Thursday, 12 January 2023

2023 Australian Open: Borna Ćorić, Donna Vekić, and Petra Martić Learn 1st Round Rivals

January 13, 2023 - Croatian tennis players have learned their rivals in the 1st round of the 2023 Australian Open, which begins next week in Melbourne. 

Croatian tennis player Borna Ćorić will open the first Grand Slam tournament of the season against Czech player Jiri Lehecka. In the first round, Petra Martić will face Swiss tennis player Viktorija Golubic, and Donna Vekić will meet Russian qualifier Oksana Selehmetova.

Ćorić, who is the 21st seed and who will be the only Croatian representative in the men's competition after Marin Čilić's withdrawal due to a knee injury, will fight to advance to the second round against Lehecka, 78th in the ATP rankings. The two have never met before. 

Martić (WTA - 37th) will fight for a spot in the second round against Golubic, the 81st tennis player in the world, whom she has met once so far and beat in 2015. 

Donna Vekić (WTA - 60th) will face the qualifier Oksana Selehmeteva, 179th in the WTA ranking. It will be Donna's first time playing against the Russian player. 

As for the favorites, Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, who returns to the Australian Open after last year's COVID-19 vaccination debacle, will face Spaniard Roberto Carballes (ATP - 75th) as his opponent in the first round. This year, Djokovic will try to equal Rafael Nadal's record, who has 22 Grand Slam titles.

Spanish tennis player Nadal, who became the first seed after compatriot Carlos Alcaraz pulled out of the tournament, will face Briton Jack Draper (ATP - 40th) in the first round.

The women's world number one, Polish player Iga Swiatek, will begin her campaign for her first crown in Melbourne against German Jula Niemeier (WTA - 68th).

Tunisian tennis player Ons Jabeur, second in the WTA ranking, will play against Slovenian Tamara Zidanšek (WTA - 88th), and the third best tennis player in the world, American Jessica Pegula, will play against Romanian Jaqueline Cristian (WTA - 143rd). 


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Friday, 28 January 2022

Ivan Dodig and Kristina Mladenovic Win 2022 Australian Open Mixed Doubles Title

January 28, 2022 - Croatian tennis player Ivan Dodig and French partner Kristina Mladenovic won the 2022 Australian Open mixed doubles title on Friday, defeating the Australian side of Jaimee Fourlis - Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-4 after 77 minutes of play!

This is the sixth Grand Slam title for the 37-year-old from Medjugorje, the fourth in the mixed doubles competition, and the second in Melbourne Park, where he celebrated last year in men's doubles with partner Filip Polašek.

Dodig won the first three mixed doubles titles with Taiwanese partner Latisha Chan, with whom he was a two-time champion at Roland Garros (2018 and 2019) and once at Wimbledon (2019).

Mladenovic triumphed in mixed doubles for the third time and has five more Grand Slam trophies in women's doubles. She became the champion at the Australian Open for the fourth time after celebrating in mixed doubles with Canadian partner Daniel Nestor in 2014. In 2018 and 2020, she won the women's doubles tournament with Hungarian partner Time Babos.

It took Dodig and Mladenović 35 minutes and a small turnaround to win the first set after Mladenovic lost the serve in the third game. Immediately in the next game, the Croatian-French side broke the serve of 22-year-old Jaimee Fourlis and tied it at 2-2. Dodig and Mladenovic were precise with their returns and volleys, and the Croatian player served for 6-3 in the first set.

The scenario of the second set was similar, in which the Croatian-French side was the first to break in the third game. Fourlis was the victim again, but the Australian side retaliated in the next game when Mladenovic served. 

Dodig and Mladenovic gained a new advantage in the seventh game. After losing the deciding point, Fourlis fell into a fit of rage and launched the ball under the closed roof of the Rod Laver Arena.

When Mladenovic held the 5-3 lead in the next game, only one game separated them from the trophy. Jason Kubler forced Ivan Dodig to serve for his second title and fourth for Mladenovic at Melbourne Park.


After one hour and 16 minutes of play, Dodig and Mladenović reached the first match point. Mladenovic played an excellent volley for the eighth Grand Slam trophy in her career. The Australian side entered the tournament by invitation. 

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Monday, 24 January 2022

Australian Open 2022: Marin Čilić Out, Petra Martić and Ivan Dodig into Doubles Quarters

January 24, 2022 - The latest at the Australian Open 2022, as Marin Čilić ends his campaign in the last 16, Petra Martić moves to the women's doubles quarters and Ivan Dodig to the mixed doubles quarters. 

Croatia's best tennis player Marin Čilić lost to Canadian tennis player Felix Auger Aliassime 2-6, 7-6 (9), 6-2, 7-6 (4) in the Australian Open last 16 on Monday.

Marin played a great first set to take the lead. In the second, he had a set point in the tie-break at 6-5, but Auger Aliassime returned to win the second set and ultimately turn the match in his favor. 

In the third set, there was no chance to break until the third game. Čilić then saved four break points for a turnaround but failed on the fifth. Auger-Aliassime broke in the seventh game and won the third set on his serve. Čilić was unable to come back.

At the beginning of the fourth set, Čilić saved two break points, and the set ended in a tie-break. In the 13th game, Auger-Aliassime took a 3-0 lead which he maintained to win the match 6-4 and advance to the quarterfinals.

This was Auger-Aliassime's first victory in his fourth match against Čilić, who had won in the previous three matches. Čilić missed the opportunity to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the third time in his career. In 2010, he played in the semifinals, and in 2018, he lost in the final to Roger Federer.

Auger-Aliassime will play in the quarterfinals against the second-best tennis player in the world, Russian Daniil Medvedev, who defeated American Maxim Cressy 6-2, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 7-5.

Petra Martic and Shelby Rogers have reached the women's doubles quarterfinals in Melbourne, beating the fifth-seeded side, Chilean Alex Guarachi and American Nicole Melichar-Martinez in two sets (6-2, 7-6 (2).

This is their second joint quarterfinal of a Grand Slam tournament after they managed to do the same last year at Roland Garros. They will face Japan's Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara for a spot in the semis. 

Ivan Dodig will play in the Australian Open mixed doubles quarterfinals. Dodig and French partner Kristina Mladenovic defeated the Australian combination of Arina Rodionova and Marc Polmans 6-2, 6-7 (8), 10-8.

They will play against Erin Routliffe and Michael Venus for a spot in the semis. 

Source: HTS

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Saturday, 22 January 2022

Marin Čilić Knocks Out Andrey Rublev for Spot in Australian Open Last 16!

January 22, 2022 - Marin Čilić is in the Australian Open last 16 after beating one of the world's best tennis players, Andrey Rublev, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3!

Marin Čilić easily won the first two sets, complicated the following two, but ultimately served for the match and victory. Marin will face Félix Auger-Aliassime next. 

“I enjoyed every single second of the match. I had so much fun and played great tennis. I tried to be aggressive, you can’t give these top guys the chance to hit – and I think it worked. I’m feeling really excited, it’s going to get tougher," Čilić said after the match, as reported by The Guardian.

Petra Martić and American tennis player Shelby Rogers will play in the third round of the women's doubles competition after beating 11th seeded Ukrainian Lyudmila Kichenok and Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 4-6, 6-1. For a spot in the quarterfinals, they will face the 5th seeded Chilean Alexa Guarachi and American Nicole Melichar-Martinez.

The mixed doubles tournament also started, in which Ivan Dodig and French partner Kristina Mladenović reached the second round with a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 10-3 victory over the Belgian pair Kirsten Flipkens - Sander Gille.

Ivan Dodig and Brazilian Marcelo Melo did not advance in the men's doubles tournament, losing 7-6 (2), 6-3 in the second round to Italians Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini.

The world's best doubles team Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić lost on Friday in the second round of the Australian Open to Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios 6-7 (8), 3-6 in a match that lasted an hour and 36 minutes.

Mektić and Pavić lost the serve at the beginning of the match, but they managed to get it back in the next game, and then broke for a 4-2 lead. Kokkinakis and Kyrgios immediately came back and the first set went into a tie-break. In the 13th game, the Croatian duo managed to save three set points, but the Australian side managed to realize the fourth.

The sixth game of the second set was fatal for Mektić and Pavić, in which they managed to save two break points, but not the third. Kokkinakis and Kyrgios took a 4-2 lead. By the end of the match, the Croatian duo did not have the opportunity to return and the Australians were able to celebrate their spot in the third round.

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Thursday, 20 January 2022

2022 Australian Open: Marin Čilić Moves to 3rd Round, Ana Konjuh Out

January 20, 2022 - Marin Čilić has moved to the 3rd round of the 2022 Australian Open, where he will face the 5th seed of the tournament - Russian Andrey Rublev. 

Croatia's best tennis player Marin Čilić advanced to the 3rd round of the Australian Open Grand Slam tournament, defeating Slovak Norbert Gombos 6:2, 6:3, 3:6, 7:6 (6) in Melbourne in two hours and 42 minutes of play. Čilić (ATP-27) justified the role of the favorite against Gombos, the 117th player in the world, in their first duel.

Čilić won the first set smoothly, but his problems started in the third set when Gombos took his serve for the first time in the second game. When Marin broke in the fifth game, the Slovak went to 3:4 and won the set.

The fourth set was entirely even and went to the tie-break, in which Marin led 4:2, Gombos returned, and at 6:5, he even has a set point on his serve. However, Čilić won three points in a row and prevented the match from going to the fifth set.

Čilić had 20 aces and only two double faults in the match with a first-serve percentage of 56 percent, 46 winners, and 56 unforced errors.

In the 3rd round, Čilić will go against the tournament's fifth seed - Russian Andrey Rublev. The Russian tennis player lost in their first clash in Geneva in 2015 and celebrated in the following five matches. 

Croatian tennis player Ana Konjuh said goodbye to the Australian Open after losing in the 2nd round to American Danielle Collins 4:6, 3:6 in 80 minutes of play. Unfortunately, Konjuh (WTA-58) did not find a way to confront the 30th-best player in the world in their first clash.

The Dubrovnik native lost her first serve in the second game, returned to the match by saving two set-points at 3:5, but immediately in the next game, she gambled at 40:15 and lost the set. Konjuh's lost service in the second game of the second set proved fatal, and all that she had until the end of the match was one unused break-point at 3:5.

Konjuh had 8 double faults in this match and no aces. She had more winners than Collins (16-14) and more unforced errors (26-18). The American used all three break points. 


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Tuesday, 18 January 2022

2022 Australian Open: Marin Čilić and Ana Konjuh Move to 2nd Round, Vekić and Martić Out

January 18, 2022 - Marin Čilić and Ana Konjuh have advanced to the second round of the 2022 Australian Open, while Donna Vekić and Petra Martić ended their run in the first round. 

Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić (ATP - 27th) advanced to the second round of the Australian Open, defeating Ecuadorian Emilio Gomez 6:3, 6:1, 6:2 after one hour and 43 minutes of play.

The only Croatian representative in the men's competition easily topped the 153rd tennis player in the world, who won a place in the main tournament through qualifications.

Čilić lost only six games and took advantage of seven break opportunities out of 11. Gomez made one break in the first set.

In the second round, Čilić will play against Slovak Norbert Gombos (ATP - 117th), also a qualifier, who defeated Timofey Skatov 6:3, 6:2, 1:6, 6:4 in the first round.

Ana Konjuh (WTA - 58th), the last Croatian representative in the main part of the tournament, advanced to the second round in the women's competition.

After two hours and 19 minutes of play, Konjuh defeated American Shelby Rodgers (WTA - 36th) 4:6, 6:3, 7:5.

In the third set, Konjuh was the first to break and served at 5:4 to end the match in her favor. However, Konjuh did not use three match points, and Rodgers returned. But Konjuh broke gain, won eight points in a row, and advanced to the second round. Konjuh had 5/9 on break points, and Rodgers 4/8. 

This was her first Grand Slam victory since Wimbledon in 2017. In the second round, Konjuh will play against the match winner between Danielle Rose Collins and Caroline Dolehide.

Donna Vekić finished her jubilee, 10th appearance at the Australian Open in the first round It was her premiere performance of the new season. Vekić lost to American Alison Riske (46th on the WTA list), winning only four games - 6:2, 6:2. Donna scored three aces, had a first-serve percentage of 44 percent, and did not reach a single break point. This was their sixth meeting and the third victory for the 31-year-old American.

After Vekić, Petra Martić was easily defeated in the first round after two sets against Jil Teichmann, 37th on the WTA list - 6:3, 6:3. Petra started the match with a break, only to lose her serve twice by the end of the set. The second set was decided after breaks in the third and ninth games. Martić scored two aces during the match with a first-serve percentage of 55 percent and used one of four break points.

This was Petra's 11th appearance at the Australian Open and seventh defeat in the first round.

Source: HTS 

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Sunday, 21 February 2021

Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek Become Australian Open Men's Doubles Champions!

February 20, 2021 - Incredible news to start Sunday morning in Croatia, as Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek become Australian Open men's doubles champions!

36-year-old Croatian doubles expert Ivan Dodig has claimed the Australian Open title in the men's doubles competition! With partner Filip Polasek, they defeated Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Rama 6:3, 6:4.

This is the first joint Grand Slam title for the Croatian Davis Cup national team member and Slovak partner, who defeated the defending champions American Rajeev Ram and Briton Joe Salisbury in Sunday's Australian Open final after 88 minutes of great tennis. 

This is Dodig's second Grand Slam trophy in men's doubles, after he won the first in 2015 at Roland Garros with Brazilian partner Marcelo Melo. In addition, the 36-year-old from Medjugorje also has three trophies from mixed doubles with Taiwanese partner Latisha Chan, with whom he won Roland Garros twice (2018 and 2019) and Wimbledon once (2019). Filip Polasek became only the second Slovak to win a Grand Slam title, and before him, only Daniela Hantuchova managed the same in mixed doubles.

Dodig and Polasek played an excellent final without allowing Ram and Salisbury to break, while they took advantage of two out of 15 opportunities, one in each set.

In the first set, they broke Salisbury's serve in the eighth game, and reached the decisive tie break in the seventh game of the second set, again on their opponent's serve, when Ivan Dodig sent back an indefensible forehand. The Croatian-Slovak pair missed the first match point on Ram's serve in the eighth game, but in the next game, Polasek convincingly served for the biggest triumph in their career.

How well Dodig and Polasek played is best illustrated by the statement of their rival Joe Salisbury.

"I think this was the best match played in the final ever," said the Briton after the match.

Dodig and Polasek received the winning trophy from one of the last greats of Australian tennis, Patrick Rafter, and for the triumph in Melbourne Park, they will share 600,000 AUD, which is about HRK 3.75 million.

Ivan Dodig became the fourth Croatian to win a Grand Slam title in the senior competition in Melbourne Park. Mirjana Lučić Baroni won the women's doubles title with Martina Hingis in 1998, Mate Pavić was the winner in two competitions in 2018, the men's doubles with Austrian Oliver Marach, and mixed doubles with Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski, while Nikola Mektić celebrated last year in mixed doubles with Czech Barbora Krejčikova.

Source: HRT

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Thursday, 18 February 2021

Ivan Dodig and Filip Polášek Upset Mektić and Pavić for Australian Open Final!

February 18,  2021 - Although it looked as if Mektić and Pavić would continue their incredible series to reach their first Grand Slam final and 13th consecutive victory, the excellent Ivan Dodig and Filip Polášek upset the Croatian duo to celebrate for a spot in the Australian Open doubles final!

Not only did the spectators return to the stands yesterday, but they witnessed a showdown of three Croatian tennis players for a place in the final of the first Grand Slam of the season!

The untouchables Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić started the season very well, but in the end, it was Ivan Dodig and Filip Polašek to celebrate with 2-1 in sets (4-6, 6-4, 6-3). 

The Croatian-Polish duo got revenge on Mektić and Pavić for the Antalya final, where the Croatian pair won their first joint tournament. However, it didn't look as though the 9th-seed would do it. Especially not after the first set in which Pavić and Mektić routinely won 6-4 in 40 minutes.

Namely,  Mektić and Pavić took the first set after the break in the fifth game and held the lead to 4-4 in the second set, and then lost five consecutive games (up to 3-0 for Dodig and Polasek in the third set), which decided the match.

This is Dodig's first placement in the final of the premier Grand Slam tournament of the season, as he has so far lost twice in the semifinals (2015 and 2020). This is Polášek's first final in one of the four biggest tournaments. This is the second final for Dodig and Polášek this year after losing to Mektić and Pavić in the Antalya final.

Dodig and Polášek will play the winners of American Rajeev Ram / Briton Joe Salisbury - Briton Jamie Murray / Brazilian Bruno Soares in the final! Good luck! 

Source: HTS, 24 Sata 

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Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Incredible Day for Croatian Tennis: Mektić, Pavić, Dodig, Jurak in Australian Open Semifinals!

February 16, 2021 - Mektić, Pavić, Dodig, Jurak have advanced to the semifinals of the Australian Open in the doubles competition! 

A fantastic Tuesday for Croatian tennis in Melbourne, as Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić, Ivan Dodig and Slovak partner Filip Polašek, and Darija Jurak and Serbian partner Nina Stojanović have all advanced to the Australian Open semifinals in the doubles competition! 

Nikola and Mate still have not tasted defeat in 2021 and reached the 12th consecutive victory in the quarterfinal celebration against the 8th seed, Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut - 6:4, 4:6, 7:6 (10:3).

The winners were decided by the tie-break of the third set, in which Herbert and Mahut took the 3:2 lead, and Mektić and Pavić then took eight consecutive points to celebrate in the end.

The 2nd-seeded team in the fight for the grand final will play against Ivan Dodig and Filip Polašek (9th-seed) who defeated the Australian team of Matthew Ebden and John-Patrick Smith in the quarterfinals - 6:4, 2:6, 6:2. The Croatian-Slovak duo had a key break to win in the third game of the deciding set, and then drew 15:40 in the next game, after which the Australians no longer had a chance to return.

Darija Jurak reached the best result of her career at the age of 37. Namely, Darija and her 12-year-younger Serbian partner Nina Stojanović reached the semifinals of women's doubles competition after winning against the Serbian-Italian team Aleksandra Krunić / Martina Trevisan - 6:7 (3), 6:3, 6:2.

After losing the first set, Jurak and Stojanović did not have any problems on the way to a new victory. In the fight for the grand final, they will play the 3rd-seeded Czech team, Barbora Krejčíková and Katerina Siniaková.

On the way to the finals, the Croatian-Serbian women's doubles team also shocked the first seed Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strýcová. 


Source: HTS

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