Sunday, 5 February 2023

Davis Cup Qualifier: Croatia Leads 2-0 Over Austria

February 5, 2023 - Croatia took a 2-0 lead against Austria on Saturday in the Davis Cup qualifier at Zamet Hall in Rijeka. Borna Ćorić played first and beat Dennis Novak as expected, before Borna Gojo surprised the favorite Dominic Thiem for Croatia's big 2-0 lead on day one.

On the first day of the Davis Cup qualifier in Rijeka, Borna Ćorić beat Denis Novak (144th on the ATP list) 6:3, 7:5, while Borno Gojo was better than Dominic Thiem, once the #3 player in the world - 6:3, 7:6(2).

"I am very satisfied with my performance, especially when serving, which has not been at the expected level in the last few months. However, the feeling is slowly coming back," said Ćorić after his victory. 

"I think we both played well. In the second set, he put a lot of pressure on me, but the break at 5:5 broke him," concluded the Zagreb native.

"A good match for me; mentally, it's always a little easier when you enter the match with a 1-0 lead. Thanks to Borna Ćorić for making it possible for me. However, even though we are up 2-0, nothing is over. I hope we can finish everything already in the doubles, but one ball often decides that. Regardless, Borna and I are ready to finish the job if necessary," assures Gojo.

Croatia's national team coach Vedran Martić praised Gojo but warned that the winner is still not resolved. 

"Borna did a fantastic job. He served exceptionally well. He was aggressive when needed and defended when required. His volleys were better and better throughout the match. In the tie-break, he played bravely, going to the net. Then, when it was the most difficult, he pulled out some moves that the best players in the world do, which is the quality of a champion. I am looking forward to the continuation of the Davis Cup," Vedran Martić said at the press conference.

Although Croatia has a significant advantage, they need to be cautious. 

"An ideal scenario for us after the first day. Both our players played great matches. Ćorić, as expected, defeated Novak, and Gojo surprised Thiem. A tough doubles match awaits us on Sunday. Nothing is over yet. It's not football when you lead 2-0 and wait for the referee to play the end. We have to win the third point. Everyone in the team is aware of this, and there is no relaxation," warned the coach.

Vedran Martić adds that they do their best when everyone comes to play in the Davis Cup.

"Borna Ćorić, Borna Gojo, and Marin Čilić give their all when they play. All matches are open; we can also lose just as we lead. We have had excellent results in recent years, and we should be grateful for that. We are leading, but we haven't won yet," he pointed out.

The first match on Sunday starts at 1 pm. Doubles team Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic will compete against Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler. 

After the doubles match, if necessary, Ćorić and Thiem should play, and then Gojo and Novak.

Source:  HTS

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Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Croatia Tennis Team Gears Up for Davis Cup Qualifiers in Rijeka

January 31, 2023 - Croatia's preparations have officially begun for the Davis Cup qualifiers against Austria, scheduled for this weekend in Rijeka. 

Croatian tennis players are currently training on new courts at Zamet hall in hopes it'll help launch them into the next stage of this competition.

"The impressions are excellent. The hall is beautiful, and I hope it will be filled on Saturday and Sunday. The boys are training, getting used to the conditions, and the surface, and we hope to be ready for Saturday," said Croatia coach Vedran Martić.

According to the latest data, the hall could be filled to capacity. Some of the most experienced Croatian tennis players are training in Rijeka, such as Ivan Dodig, who made his debut in this competition in 2002 for Bosnia and Herzegovina and in 2010 for Croatia. There are also some young players who are expected to take an essential role in the national team, like Mili Poljičak and Dino Prižmić. 

"We have young players with us, as well as Ivan Dodig, to whom I am very grateful for coming. He had health problems in Australia but gathered the strength to be with us in Rijeka. Young players gain experience and train with older players. These are our two talented juniors from whom we expect a lot in the future," said Martić.

Marin Čilić, who played his first Davis Cup match against Austria in 2006, will not be in Rijeka due to knee surgery. Will Borna Ćorić and Borna Gojo be safe selections in the singles matches? 

"Yes, they are prime contenders for the singles matches. In the last two years, they have played fantastically. Ćorić did his best, played brilliantly, and Gojo always plays outstanding tennis for the national team, and I hope it will be like that again," Martić said.

The Austrian national team is led by Dominic Thiem, once the number three tennis player in the world, and a player who can boast one Grand Slam title and three Grand Slam finals, as well as two entries into the Masters finals. 

"Austria is good; they are dangerous. It won't be easy to win. Thiem is an excellent player, and even though we do not know in what form he will be coming, it will be difficult to beat him in Rijeka. The next two players, Novak and the left-handed Rodionov are around the 100th in the ATP ranking but are very good players. As a doubles team, Erler and Miedler are getting better and better, and they play together all the time. We expect a difficult match, but we hope to win," Martić concluded.

Source:  HTS

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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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Sunday, 21 August 2022

Unstoppable Borna Ćorić Wins Spot against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Cincinnati Final!

August 21, 2022 - The fantastic week for Croatian tennis player Borna Ćorić continues as he advances to the final of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Cincinnati with a 6-3, 6-4 victory against British tennis player Cameron Norrie. Ćorić will play in the Cincinnati Masters final on Sunday night against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Ćorić will thus play in the final of the Masters 1000 tournament for the second time. It happened for the first time in Shanghai in 2018, and on this occasion, he will face Greek tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas for the Cincinnati Masters title. 

Once again this week, Ćorić was more than convincing in Cincinnati. After a great fight and victory in a difficult three sets against Rafael Nadal, Ćorić, who entered this tournament as the 152nd player in the world, beat Bautista Agut and Auger Aliassime. And now he's celebrating against the 11th player in the world.

Norrie opened the match better and took a 3-1 lead, only for Ćorić to string together five games and reach 1-0 in sets. At the same time, Ćorić won most of those five games convincingly.

In the second set, Ćorić continued to dominate in his service games. He kept the Briton at a great distance, while on the other hand, he often threatened his opponent with a break. The score was 2-2, and after that, he kept the advantage and calmly brought the match to an end. Ćorić used three of seven break chances and Norrie one of two.

"At the beginning of the match, I wasn't on the court, and I didn't feel the ball very well. But I found the right rhythm quickly, started serving better, and that was the key to victory," said Borna after the match, who scored seven aces in the victory with a first-serve percentage of only 43 percent.

In his career, the 25-year-old Ćorić won two ATP tournaments, Marrakech in 2017 and Halle in 2018. He played his last final two years ago in Saint Petersburg, and in the same year, he played his last match against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open, which Ćorić won 6-7(2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(4).

Sunday is a new challenge, this time for the winner of the Masters 1000 tournament in Cincinnati.

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Thursday, 18 August 2022

Borna Ćorić Takes Out Rafael Nadal to Advance in Cincinnati!

August 18, 2022 - Borna Ćorić proves he's fit again after knocking out World No. 3 tennis player Rafael Nadal of the Cincinnati Masters. 

Borna Ćorić beats Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal 7:6(9), 4:6, 6:3 and advanced to the 3rd round of the Masters Series ATP tournament in Cincinnati. Ćorić thus spoils Nadal's return to tennis in his comeback match, the first after Wimbledon, when he surrendered to Nick Kyrgios in the semi-final. 

In a match lasting 2 hours and 51 minutes, Ćorić achieved the greatest success of the season, proving that he is fit again after a long break due to injury. After a dramatic first set in which both players saved two set-points each, Ćorić reached an important break in the middle of the third set, which was enough for him to win.

"This is special. I haven't been here for the past two years; I haven't played in big tournaments in front of a lot of spectators. Honestly, I was just looking forward to playing this match, and the fact that I won is crazy," said Ćorić, who now faces Robert Bautista Agut.

"It will be an interesting match. I will have to be aggressive, especially because I played against Nadal for a long time and finished late," said Ćorić, who leads 5:4 against Bautista Agut in head-to-head matches.

This was the fifth match between Ćorić and who many consider the best tennis player of all time. Borna Ćorić has a 3:2 advantage in head-to-head matches against the Spaniard. The Croatian tennis player, who fell to 152nd place in the ATP ranking due to injuries, and was once the 12th tennis player in the world, defeated Nadal in the Basel quarterfinals in 2014 (6:2, 7:6(4) and then two years later in Cincinnati he won 6:1, 6:3. He lost to Nadal at the US Open in 2015 and the Masters in Canada in 2017.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Monday, 27 June 2022

Borna Ćorić Withdraws from Wimbledon, Marin Čilić Only Croatian Male in Singles Tournament

June 27, 2022 - Borna Ćorić will miss this year's Wimbledon tournament due to a shoulder injury. The Croatian tennis player was meant to face Diego Schwartzman in the first round. 

Croatian tennis player Borna Ćorić will miss this year's Wimbledon, where the draw in the first round awarded him the 15th tennis player in the world, Argentine Diego Schwartzman. Ćorić, however, has cited a shoulder injury as the reason for this decision, reports

Ćorić will be replaced by the "lucky loser" from the qualifications in the main draw.

Thus,  the only Croatian representative in the Wimbledon singles tennis competition will be Marin Čilić, who is set as the 14th seed in the tournament. On Tuesday, he will face American Mackenzie McDonald in the first round.

At a press conference in Zagreb, Borna Ćorić indirectly announced the possibility of withdrawing from Wimbledon, given that he played five matches in six days last week and won the ATP Challenger in Italy on clay.

The Croatia national team player took a break for a year due to a shoulder injury that needed surgery. However, as points for the ATP rankings cannot be won at this year's Wimbledon, it is not worth the risk for Ćorić to expose his still not fully recovered shoulder to the efforts of playing three sets because his main mission now is to improve his ranking.

Ćorić currently ranks 203rd in the singles ATP rankings, and he pointed out a spot among the 100 best in the world as his goal, which would guarantee him a direct entry into the main draw at the biggest tournaments in the world. 

The organizers of the Umag Blue Lagoon Croatia Open gave Ćorić an invitation so that he would not have to spend the quota of the remaining tournaments in which he could play with a protected ranking, and he could have his next performance in Umag.

The Umag ATP tournament is scheduled for July 25-31.

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Friday, 20 May 2022

Croatian Tennis Players Learn 2022 Roland Garros First Round Opponents

May 20, 2022 - Croatian tennis players have learned their 2022 Roland Garros first round opponents, which kicks off Sunday in Paris! 

The best Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić will play against Hungarian Attila Balazs in the first round of Roland Garros, while Borna Ćorić will open the second Grand Slam of the season against Spaniard Carlos Taberner.

Ana Konjuh expects 19th-seed Romanian Simona Halep in the first round. So far, they have played once, in 2017 in St. Petersburg, when Halep celebrated. In her five Roland Garros appearances so far, Konjuh has never gone further than the second round.

Petra Martić will play against Czech tennis player Katerina Siniakova. In their previous match, the 31-year-old Czech celebrated.

Martic played 11 times in Paris and achieved the best result in 2019, entering the quarterfinals.

The 20th seed Marin Čilić will face 33-year-old Hungarian Attila Balazs. This will be Čilić's first clash against the 255th tennis player in the world. Marin has reached the quarterfinals twice in his 15 appearances at Roland Garros so far (2017, 2018).

Borna Ćorić will open Roland Garros against 24-year-old Spaniard Carlos Taberner. Ćorić and Taberner have not played each other so far. It will be Borna's seventh appearance at the Paris tournament, and he has never gone beyond the third round.

Donna Vekić and Borna Gojo have qualified for the first round of Roland Garros, though the qualifications are not yet over. Their path will be followed by Nino Serdarušić, who is waiting for the third round of qualifications on Friday. His rival is American Bjorn Fratangelo. 

The first seed of the tournament and defending champion Novak Djokovic will play against Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka. In the quarterfinals, he could face 13-time Roland Garros winner Rafael Nadal.

Round One Draw:

Borna Coric (CRO) - Carlos Taberner (Spa)

Marin Cilic (CRO / N.20) - Attila Balazs (Hungary)

Petra Martic (CRO) - Katerina Siniakova (Czech)

Ana Konjuh (CRO) - Simona Halep (Rum)

Source: HRT

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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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Saturday, 26 March 2022

Miami Open: Zverev Knocks Out Ćorić, Čilić Awaits Popyrin in 2nd Round

March 26, 2022 - After celebrating his first victory in 12 months when he defeated Fernando Verdasco in the first round, Borna Ćorić was stopped in the 2nd round of the Miami Open. 

In the second round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Miami, Croatian tennis player Borna Ćorić lost to German Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 3-6.

It was their seventh meeting and the fourth victory for the world #4 player and the second seed of the tournament. However, this match showed that Borna is slowly getting in the right shape after a long break due to injury. 

The first set was equal until the result was 4-4, and both tennis players kept their serve. But in the ninth game, Zverev broke and safely served for 6-4 to lead 1-0 in sets.

The Croatian tennis player entered the second set brilliantly. With one break, he took a 3-0 lead and then kept the game advantage until the end of the set, when he won 6-3 after 38 minutes of play.

Unfortunately, Zverev fought back at the opening of the third set by winning three games in a row, after which Borna was unable to return. He had a break to return to the match in the ninth game, but Zverev then got the next two points to win.

Borna scored two aces during the match with a first-serve percentage of 65 percent and used one of two break points (Zverev two of three). He will have his next appearance in three weeks at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Monte Carlo.

In the next round of Miami, Zverev will play against the match winner between Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and American Mackenzie McDonald.

Borna recorded his first victory after 12 months by defeating Verdasco in the 1st round of Miami. In his second return appearance after injury, the 25-year-old from Zagreb defeated Spaniard Fernando Verdasco (123rd in the ATP ranking) in two sets - 6-4, 7-5.

It was his first celebration since Rotterdam in early March 2021 when he defeated Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals. 

Croatia has another singles representative at the tournament in Miami. Namely, Marin Čilić will face Australian Alexei Popyrin in the 2nd round.

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić also advanced to the second 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.

Source: HTS

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Saturday, 12 March 2022

Petra Martić Tops World No. 22 for Indian Wells 3rd Round

March 12, 2022 - Petra Martić is in the 3rd round of the WTA tournament in Indian Wells, while Borna Ćorić was knocked out in his first match back in 369 days. 

Croatian tennis player Petra Martić advanced to the 3rd round of the WTA tournament in Indian Wells, defeating Slovenian Tamara Zidanšek 7-5, 7-6 (8) in two hours of play.

Martić (WTA-79) knocked out the 22nd player in the world and the 19th-seed of the tournament in two close and dramatic sets. Petra could have won earlier because she led 5-3 in the second set and served 5-4 for the match.

Petra also missed two match points in the tie-break but used the third for the round of 32 of this prestigious tournament. In the first set, Martić came back from 1-3, and in the 12th game, she used only the fourth set point. 

Petra took advantage of 4/10 break points and had only one ace. This was their third clash and the third victory for the Croatian player, who will meet British tennis player Emma Raducanu in the 3rd round. Raducanu topped French tennis player Carolina Garcia in the round of 64. 

Ana Konjuh said an early goodbye to the WTA 1000 tournament in Indian Wells. The current best Croatian female tennis player handed over the first-round match to the British qualifier Harriet Dart (122nd on the WTA list), 6:1 and was 3:1 behind in the second set.

Darija Jurak also finished her performance at Indian Wells. She and Slovenian Andreja Klepač (4th seed) lost in the first round to Taipei's Hao-Ching Chan and Poland's Magda Linette (6:3, 2:6, 12:10) after missing the match point at a 9-8 lead in the tie-break.

Borna Ćorić lost in his comeback match in Indian Wells.

Borna Ćorić failed to win his first match after a 369-day break. The 25-year-old from Zagreb was defeated in the first round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Indian Wells by Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 45th on the ATP list - 6:7 (5), 6:0, 7:5.

Borna had an excellent opportunity to succeed in the match - in the eighth game of the deciding set, he was the first to reach the break and, at 5:3, served to advance to the second round. However, the Spaniard remained strong enough and got the victory by the end of the duel with two breaks.

Ćorić scored seven aces during the match with a first-serve percentage of 66 percent, and he used three of the seven break points.

Ćorić will have a new opportunity to return to the top of the world at the end of March at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Miami.

Croatia will also be without representatives in the second round of the doubles competition in Indian Wells. 

Nikola Mektić and Mato Pavić were defeated by the Americans John Isner and Jack Sock in the first round (7:6 (2), 3:6, 10:7), and Ivan Dodig and Brazilian Marcelo Melo were stopped by the winners of the Australian Open, Australians Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios - 7:5, 1:6, 10:2.

Petra Martić and American Shelby Rogers were defeated by Greek Maria Sakkari and Ajla Tomljanović in the women's doubles - 4:6, 6:4, 10:2.

Source: HTS

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