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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Tuesday, 5 July 2022

32nd Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag Brings Best of Tennis to Istria in July

July 5, 2022 - The 32nd Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag tournament will be held from July 22 to 31!

Top tennis, an attractive music program, excellent culinary delights, and the great promotion of Umag, Istria, and Croatian tourism - all this will mark the 32nd edition of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag tournament, which will be held this season from July 22 to 31, reports HTS. This is guaranteed by some of the best tennis players in the world, such as Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, Italian Jannik Sinner, Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, Dane Holger Rune, and Croatian representative Borna Ćorić, whose arrival was announced at a press conference held in Zagreb.

"With such a stellar line-up of players on the list of registered participants, we can say that a top tennis event awaits us in Umag. Carlos Alcaraz is the biggest tennis story of today when talking about young players who should have a great career ahead of them, and Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune go with him in the same sentence. So we will have three of today's biggest young stars at the tournament but at the same time players who are already doing great things in professional tennis. There is also Georgian tennis player Basilashvili, last year's Indian Wells finalist, the ever-improving Argentinian Sebastian Baez, the winner of Umag in 2016, Italian Fabio Fognini, and of course, Croatia's Davis Cup representative Borna Ćorić. Borna will receive an invitation to the main tournament, and Umag is very important to him after returning from injury. He recently won the ATP Challenger in Parma, which shows that he is returning to his old form, so we believe he will be among the main candidates for a top result in Stella Maris. Together, we can announce a fantastic tournament," said tournament director Tomislav Poljak.

The Umag ATP tournament will be a great link between sports and tourism again this year, with a live broadcast in more than 140 countries worldwide. This makes it an excellent tennis event and an important promotional one.

"The Umag ATP tournament is one of the longest-running major events in Croatia that combines tourism and sport. Being part of the ATP tournament is no small thing, and we are proud to have such a tournament in Croatia. On the other hand, large sporting events are also the reason for visiting the destination, and we believe that Umag and this tournament bring Istria and Croatia additional promotion worldwide. That's why the Ministry of Tourism and Sports stands by this tournament, and we will continue to nurture cooperation for such a big event," said Josip Pavić, special advisor to the Minister of Tourism and Sports.

Dubravko Šimenc, a specialist for the Croatian Tourist Board's marketing projects, agreed.

"This is precisely the backbone of our cooperation with the organizers of the tournament because basic tourist products, such as the sun and the sea, are no longer a sufficient motive for coming to a destination, but we must all work together continuously to create and market competitive tourist experiences, and Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, as the oldest tennis tournament in Croatia, is certainly one of them."

This year, Umag will also be the center of tennis where, in addition to the players in the main tournament, 600 recreational players will compete in side tournaments such as the traditional VIP tournament, the HEPi tournament, the Umag Stars Open, and the third ITF wheelchair tennis tournament. It continues with the Road to Umag, a series of tournaments around Croatia that has its final at the Umag tournament. Furthermore, this year's ATP Umag edition will, for the first time, provide all tournament enthusiasts with a fully digital experience through the official WhatsApp chatbot provided by Vodnja's Infobip, the leading IT company in the region and the tournament's technology partner. Through the WhatsApp chatbot, visitors will receive the necessary information about the tournament and the players and a variety of video content. In addition, they will have the opportunity to buy tickets, participate in prize quizzes, and more.

You can follow the news about the tournament at www.croatiaopen.hr

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Saturday, 2 July 2022

Petra Martić Tops 8th-Seed to Book Wimbledon Round of 16!

July 2, 2022 - Petra Martić was brilliant against the 8th-seed of the tournament to book a spot in the Wimbledon round of 16!

Croatia's best female tennis player Petra Martić (WTA - 80) continues with excellent form at the All England Club and has qualified for the Wimbledon round of 16 after defeating the 8th-seeded American Jessica Pegula (WTA - 9th) 6:2, 7:6 (5) in less than an hour and a half of play.

Martić played brilliantly against Pegula to win her third match at this year's Wimbledon without losing a set, reports HRT.

Martić played a set and a half almost without a mistake. During that time, she easily won the first set 6:2, while in the second, with a break advantage, she led 3:1.

However, Pegula came back from the middle of the second set, making it a quality and even fight. Pegula returned the break and had one set point on Martić's serve with a 5:4 lead.

Martić made it to the tie-break in which she led 5:2. The American tennis player gathered her strength and equalized at 5:5, but then Martić made it 6:5 with a good second serve, while Pegula made a mistake on the match point at the net for Martić to celebrate.

In the round of 16, Martić will play against Kazakhstani tennis player Jelena Ribakina, the 17th-seed of the tournament, who won against Chinese tennis player Qinwen Zheng 7:6 (4), 7:5 in the third round.

Martić reached the second week of Wimbledon for the third time in her career. She played in the round of 16 in 2017 and 2019.

"This victory means a lot to me, and I still have enough energy to go on. Pegula is a great tennis player, she has been proving how good she is for a long time, and I know that grass suits her. So I'm going to move on, match by match," said Martić immediately after celebrating against the American.

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Thursday, 23 June 2022

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić Book Eastbourne International Semi-final!

June 23, 2022 - The Croatian doubles side will play in the Eastbourne International semi-final match today around 1:30 pm. 

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić will play in the doubles semifinals at the ATP tournament in Eastbourne, where they beat the American-French doubles side of Maxime Cressy - Hugo Humbert 7-6 (9), 6-1, in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

This was the sixth consecutive victory for the current Olympic and Wimbledon winners who started their series last week at London’s Queen’s Club. In the first set, the Croatian duo missed the break advantage (4-3), and in the tie-break, they saved two set points (6-7, 8-9). In the second set, Mektić and Pavić took a 3-0 lead, and Cressy and Humbert only managed to catch a consolation game.

This is Pavić's tenth consecutive victory on grass. Before the title in London, he won the tournament in Stuttgart with partner Pole Hubert Hurkacz.

For a spot in their sixth joint final in 2022, and the 18th title match since they merged at the start of last season, Mektić and Pavić will play against Briton Jamie Murray and Brazilian Bruno Soares, who were better than the British-Finnish side of Glasspool - Heliovaara 6-4, 7-5. The Croatian side won against Glasspool - Heliovaara in Sunday's final at the Queen's Club.

Recall, after clinching the title in Rome and Geneva this year, Mektić and Pavić won the Queen's Club last weekend for their 12th joint title and 15th victory in the last 16 matches. The duo awaits Wimbledon, the third Grand Slam tournament of the season where they will work to defend the title. Last year, not only did these two win Wimbledon before celebrating in the historic all-Croatian doubles final at the Tokyo Olympics, but they finished the year as the best doubles team in the world. 

Ivan Dodig and his American partner Austin Krajicek will also fight for a place in the final. The Roland Garros finalists reached the semifinals by defeating French duo Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-5, 6-2. The semi-final rivals of the Croatian-American team will be Dutchman Matwe Middelkoop and Australian Luke Saville.

Source: HRT

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Monday, 6 June 2022

Marin Čilić ATP Ranking Best Since 2019 - in Top 20 Again!

June 6, 2022 - The latest Marin Čilić ATP ranking reveals that the Croatian tennis player is back in the world's top 20 tennis players for the first time since 2019!

The best Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić is again among the top 20 in the world in the latest ATP ranking. Čilić has not ranked so well since August 2019!

Čilić advanced by six spots after reaching the semifinals of Roland Garros. Recall, Čilić failed to advance to the Roland Garros final. In the semifinals, Norwegian Casper Ruud won 3:6, 6:4, 6:2, 6:2 after almost three hours of play. Čilić had ten aces in the match, six less than Ruud, a first-serve percentage of 66 percent, 51 winners and ten more than his opponent, and 56 unforced errors, 35 more than the Norwegian tennis player. 

"I have to say my form has been on an upward trajectory in these few weeks. I felt excellent on the court; I connected six matches at a very high level. In addition, part of the semifinal match was definitely quite good. So I have to be very happy with that. Now it is also a challenge for me to maintain this level and continue to play this kind of tennis from week to week. Then I think that great victories will come," said Marin Čilić after losing in the semifinals.

By entering the main Garros tournament, Borna Gojo improved his ranking by 30 places and is now 192nd, Nino Serdarušić 183rd, while Borna Ćorić dropped 34 positions to 244th place.

Roland-Garros winner Rafael Nadal and his opponent in the final, Norwegian Casper Ruud, climbed one and two places, respectively, to 4th and 6th in the men's ATP rankings released Monday after the Paris tournament.

Novak Djokovic, who lost in the quarterfinals to Nadal, remains the best tennis player in the world, though his lead is declining. Namely, Daniil Medvedev, who was eliminated in the round of 16 by Marin Čilić, and Alexander Zverev, who was stopped in the semifinals against Nadal due to an injury, are getting closer to the Serbian tennis player. 

Source: HRT

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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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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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Saturday, 16 April 2022

Croatia Women's Tennis Team Qualifies for Billie Jean King Cup

April 16, 2022 - Petra Martić brought Croatia a key second point against Serbia at the Billie Jean King Cup qualifying tournament in Antalya, Turkey on Saturday. 

In a dramatic and long match against Aleksandra Krunić, the 116th player in the WTA ranking, Martić won 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, which gave Croatia its second singles victory, enough for the play-offs of this competition, which will be to be held in November this year, and for a spot in the 2023 World Group.

In the first match, 16-year-old Croatian tennis player and the world's best junior Petra Marčinko defeated Lola Radivojević 6-1, 2-6, 6-0, who is the 62nd junior in the world.

Martić was facing defeat against Krunić who led 6-4, 5-3. The Serbian tennis player served for the match at 5-4, but Martić ended up winning the second set 7-5.

Krunić opened the third set with 2-0, but Martić quickly returned to equalize and at 5-4 made a key break for Croatia's victory.

Earlier, Hungary and Slovenia, the winners of the groups in Antalya, advanced to the playoffs. Croatia and Serbia were the second-placed teams in both groups and additionally played for another place leading to the playoffs. In the end, Iva Majoli's team was more successful.

Given that the duel was resolved after both singles matches, the doubles match was not played.

Billie Jean King Cup, Playoffs:

Croatia - Serbia 2-0

Petra Marčinko (Cro) - Lola Radivojević (Serb) 6-1, 2-6, 6-0

Petra Martić (Cro) - Aleksandra Krunić (Serb) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4

Source: HTS

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Saturday, 19 March 2022

Unstoppable Petra Marčinko into ITF Turkey Final!

March 19, 2022 - The unstoppable winning streak of Petra Marčinko continues. The world's best junior will play in her second consecutive final, this time at the ITF Turkey 10A tournament in Antalya!

Petra Marčinko continued her winning streak and was ruthless against 27-year-old Chinese tennis player Yafan Wang (WTA - 316th), winning 6-0, 6-0 in 62 minutes in the ITF semifinal in Antalya, Turkey on Saturday. 

The best junior in the world reached her ninth consecutive victory in the senior competition in difficult, windy conditions, and her 23rd win in total, if we add the last three junior tournaments in which she competed. She will fight for her second consecutive title in Antalya on Sunday, where she won her first Senior ITF tournament last week.

The 16-year-old from Zagreb adapted to the conditions and left Yafan Wang without a game. Wang is a well-known name in the tennis world - she has beaten top 10 players, won the WTA tournament in Acapulco in 2019 and is certainly a player who deserves respect. Two and a half years ago, she was 47th in the WTA rankings for singles. 

Marčinko took advantage of all six break opportunities while Wang able was unable to take any of her five chances. 

On Sunday, Marčinko will fight for the trophy against 21-year-old Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto (WTA - 242), who was better than 17-year-old Russian Diana Schneider (WTA - 857) in the semifinals 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, and who is in second place in the junior rankings.

Marčinko also played against Cocciaretto in Antalya last week, defeating her 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinal match. She will fight for her second consecutive title in Antalya on Sunday where she won her first senior ITF tournament last week.

With this week's placement in the final, Marčinko made a new leap in the world ranking and secured the 470th spot on the WTA list.

Source: HRT

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Sunday, 5 December 2021

Davis Cup Final: Croatia Tennis is 2nd Best in World

December 5, 2021 - Croatia is the second-best tennis team in the world after Russia celebrated in the Davis Cup final on Sunday in Madrid.

Russia celebrated the Davis Cup title after beating Croatia 2-0 in the final, winning both singles matches.

After Andrey Rublev defeated Borna Gojo 6:4, 7:6 (5) in the first match, bringing Russia the first point, Daniil Medvedev, the second-best tennis player in the world, defeated Marin Čilić 7:6 (7), 6:2, thus securing the Cup for Russia. 

Čilić played an excellent first set but failed to hold his momentum in the second against this year's US Open winner. 

In the first six games, both servers were efficient to reach a 3:3 score. In the seventh game, Čilić faced his first break point and ultimately missed a break point for 5:3.

The decision fell in the tie-break where Čilić led 4:2 but did not reach a single set point. Medvedev, on the other hand, used his third.

In the second set, Medvedev quickly reached a break and took a 3:1 lead which opened the door to victory. The Russian tennis player did not back down again and at 5:2 broke Čilić for the win and Russia's Davis Cup title. 

Croatia had a brilliant Davis Cup campaign this year, beating Australia and Hungary in the group stage, before topping Italy in the quarters and Serbia in the semifinal for a spot in the final this year. Recall, Croatia played without one of its top tennis players in this tournament - Borna Ćorić. 

Croatia thus remains on the two Davis Cup trophies. Croatia won the Cup in 2005 and 2018, and in addition to this final, they played and lost the final in 2016 (against Argentina in Zagreb).

This is the third Davis Cup trophy for Russia. They celebrated in 2002 and 2006. In addition to these victories, Russia has lost three finals (1994, 1995, and 2007).



Medvedev - Čilić 7:6 (7), 6:2 
Rublev - Gojo 6:4, 7:6 (5)

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