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).

DAVIS CUP FINAL:

RUSSIA - CROATIA 2-0

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

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Thursday, 2 December 2021

Croatia and Serbia to Meet in Davis Cup Semifinals on Friday

December 2, 2021 - The Croatian men's tennis team will play against Serbia in the Davis Cup semifinals in Madrid on Friday. Serbia defeated Kazakhstan 2-1 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, although they lost the first match.

The first point for Kazakhstan was secured by Mikhail Kukushkin, who after three hours and 18 minutes of play defeated Miomir Kecmanovic 7:6 (5), 4:6, 7:6 (11).

Kukushkin was in a good position when he won the first set and led 4:2 in the second, but Kecmanovic's series of seven games followed, which gave him a 3-0 advantage in the decisive third set. The Serbian tennis player had two consecutive match points at 5:3, but Kukushkin managed to break and took the game to a tie-break in the third set.

In that decisive game, Kecmanovic was the first to reach the advantage, had two more match points, one at 6:5, the other at 7:6, but even then he did not finish the match. Kukushkin reached his first match point with two consecutive points at 8:7, but the Kazakh also missed four. However, he managed to get the 5th match point in his 12:11 lead on Kecmanovic's serve.

In the second singles match, world #1 Novak Djokovic defeated Aleksandar Bublik 6:3, 6:4, bringing Serbia equal. An hour and 16 minutes of play were enough for Djokovic to win against Bublik, more than two hours less than it took Mikhail Kukushkin to bring Kazakhstan to the lead with a victory against Miomir Kecmanovic.

The winner was then decided by the doubles match, in which Djokovic and Nikola Cacic defeated Andrej Golubjev and Aleksandar Nedovjecov 6:2, 2:6, 6:3 after an hour and 37 minutes of play, bringing Serbia the semifinal match against Croatia, which is scheduled for Friday.

Recall, Croatia defeated Italy 2-1 in the quarterfinals in Turin on Monday.

Germany also reached the semifinals with a 2-1 victory against Great Britain on Tuesday, and Russia and Sweden will play in the last quarterfinal match on Thursday. The semi-final match between Germany and the better of the Russia-Sweden match will be played on Saturday.

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Monday, 29 November 2021

Croatia Tops Italy for Davis Cup Semi-final Spot!

November 29, 2021 - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić secured Croatia's Davis Cup semi-final spot in Turin on Monday! 

In the first singles match of the Davis Cup quarterfinals in Turin on Monday, Borna Gojo defeated Lorenzo Sonega 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-2, and Croatia took the lead against Italy (1-0). Marin Čilić, on the other hand, lost to Jannik Sinner 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 in the second singles match, leaving the doubles to decide who would book a spot in the Davis Cup semifinal. 

Borna Gojo (ATP-279) brought Croatia the first point, although his opponent was the 27th tennis player in the world and a big favorite in this match. However, Gojo managed to surprise his rival with brave play to bring Croatia closer to the semifinal.

The 10th tennis player in the world, Italy's Jannik Sinner, won the second singles match, topping Marin Čilić, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 3-6 to bring Italy and Croatia even (1-1). Čilić failed to take Croatia to the semifinals, although he served for the match in the second set. This was the first meeting between Čilić and Sinner. 

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić faced Fabio Fognini and Jannik Sinner in the doubles match that concluded the quarterfinal meeting. The Croatian duo and best doubles team in the world this year won 6-3, 6-4 to take Croatia to the Davis Cup semifinal! Croatia will play either Serbia or Kazakhstan in the semifinal. 

Croatia has played in the semifinals of the Davis Cup four times so far and has won two titles.

In all three previous clashes between these two national teams, Italy had 3 wins to Croatia's 2. Only in Rome in 2001, the decision fell before the fifth match. In Dubrovnik in 2008, Mario Ančić defeated Simone Bolleli 3-2, and in Turin in 2013, Fognini was better than Ivan Dodig after five sets.

Croatia, as the last winner of the 'old' Davis Cup in 2018 against France, could not repeat their success in Madrid two years ago. In a difficult group against Spain and Russia, they lost both matches 0:3. 

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Sunday, 28 November 2021

Croatia Tennis Team Tops Hungary for Spot in Davis Cup Quarters

November 28, 2021 - The Croatia tennis team is in the Davis Cup quarters and will meet Italy in Turin on Monday!

On Sunday, Croatia advanced to the Davis Cup quarterfinals after Nino Serdarušić defeated Hungary's Fabian Maroszan 6-4, 6-4 in the first match against Hungary.

Two breaks were enough to win, one in each set, for Serdarušić, who is 233rd in the ATP ranking. The match lasted an hour and 11 minutes.

The Croatian tennis player was safe from the beginning; he served seven aces and won two of three break points. Maroszan, the 359th tennis player in the world, made 15 unforced errors in the match.

Marin Čilić suffered the shock defeat of the day against the 282nd tennis player in the world, Zsombor Piros.

Čilić and Piros played the second match (Hungary's best Márton Fucsovics withdrew due to injury). Still, the 282nd tennis player in the world proved to be an insurmountable obstacle for the great Croatian tennis player. But it wasn't that way at the start of the match. Marin led 5:2 and served for the set, but Piros returned at 5:5 to win the first set.

The second set was equal until the 11th game when Piros broke Čilić and easily served for 7:5.

Čilić started the third set well, served for 3:1 after which he increased it to 4:1, but Piros came back at 4:3 and for the second time broke Čilić for the 5:4 lead. Finally, in the last game, Čilić managed to save five match points, but Piros won in the end.

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić played Fábián Marozsán and Péter Nagy in the doubles clash. The best doubles team in the world won both sets (7:6, 6:2) to confirm Croatia's spot in the quarterfinals.

Croatia finished at the top of the group and will play against Italy in Turin on Monday.

Source: Sportske Novosti

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Sunday, 7 November 2021

Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić Finish as World #1 Doubles Team in 2021

November 7, 2021 - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić are the world's #1 doubles team in 2021! 

On the ATP ranking, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić will finish 2021 as the world's best doubles team. Only American Rajeev Ram and Briton Joe Salisbury threatened to catch Pavić and Mektić, though thanks to the outcome of the Paris Masters, the Croatian duo was unattainable. 

This is the third time Pavić has finished the year as part of the world's best doubles team, and Nikola Mektić is the third partner with whom Pavić reached the top. Last year, Pavić and Brazilian partner Bruno Soares were named #1, and in 2018, he was the best in combination with Austrian partner Oliver Marach.

"I'm thrilled. True, this is my third time in the last four years with a third partner, but I achieved it for the first time with a Croatian, which is a great achievement for us personally, but also for Croatian tennis in general," said Mate Pavić in a statement from ATP Tour.

Mektić will finish at the top of the ATP rankings for the first time this year.

"It is a nice achievement, especially after a season like the one we had. I was looking forward to it. When I saw how we were doing, it became one of the goals. It is nice to end the year at number 1, which is the crown of the whole season in which we had nice victories and great titles," said Nikola Mektić.

In a year full of success, the 32-year-old from Zagreb and the 28-year-old from Split won nine titles, including the Wimbledon trophy and a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Mektić and Pavić will still play in the final tournament of the eight best doubles teams in the world, where the Zagreb man triumphed last year with Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof. But, on the other hand, it is one of the few trophies Pavić does not have in his collection.

"We had a great season, and we are looking forward to playing in Turin at this year's ATP Final. We will try to end the season the way we started it," said Pavić.

ATP President Andrea Gaudenzi also congratulated the Croatian duo.

"Congratulations to Nikola and Mate on an exceptional season and number 1. It is impressive how they started the season and how much success they had in their first year together, and we should be proud of our achievements," said Gaudenzi.

Mektić and Pavić will be the first-seed at the ATP Finals, hosted in Turin for the first time from November 14 to 21, after the final tournament was played in London's O2 Arena from 2009 to 2020.

After the ATP Finals, Nikola and Mate will play for the Croatia Davis Cup national team again in Turin. They will play the group stage against Australia on November 25 and against Hungary on November 28.

Source: HRT

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Saturday, 14 August 2021

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić Move to Canadian Open Doubles Final!

August 15, 2021 - The world's best Croatian tennis duo has done it again - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić have reached their 12th final so far this year by advancing to the Canadian Open doubles final! 

Olympic gold medalists Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić advanced to the ATP Masters 1000 series finals in Toronto. In the semifinal match, they defeated German Kevin Krawietz and Romanian Horia Tecau 7-6 (3), 7-6 (12).

Mektić and Pavić were more successful in both tie breaks during the match. 

In the first set, each side equalized once on their opponent's service - Krawietz and Tecau in the 8th game, and Mektić and Pavić in the 11th game, but failed to win the deciding point. In the tie break, Mektić and Pavić took the lead at 3-0, then 6-1, and convincingly brought the first set to an end.

The Croatian side was better in the second set in which they had four break points, one in the 6th and three more in the 8th game, but they failed to materialize them. Krawietz and Tecau took a 4-0 lead, then a 5-1 lead in the second tie break, and it looked like an extended tie-break would be played, but Mektić and Pavić reached 5-5, followed by a series of 15 points in a row won by the serving pair.

Krawietz and Tecau had four set points in that series, and Mektić and Pavić had three match points. However, the series was interrupted by the Croatian side's 13-12 lead when they used their fourth match point.

This is already the 56th victory for Mektić and Pavić in 2021, with only nine defeats. With this win, they have thus reached their 12th final. So far, they have won nine titles, and on the way to the tenth, they will face American Rajeev Ram and the Briton Joe Salisbury who defeated Belgians Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen in the semifinal. 

Source: HRT

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Friday, 30 July 2021

All-Croatian Olympic Doubles Final: Pavić and Mektić Take Gold, Čilić and Dodig Silver!

July 30, 2021 - Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić have taken the gold medal in the all-Croatian Olympic doubles final against Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig! 

Croatia increased its collection of medals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo today by winning both the gold and silver in the final of the tennis doubles tournament, in which Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić, and Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig met on Friday. 

First seed Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić reached the finals with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over the USA's Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren, while Čilić and Dodig defeated New Zealand's Michael Venus and Marcus Daniello 6-2, 6-2.

Only for the third time in Olympic history, but for the first time in more than 100 years, doubles teams from the same country played in the men’s doubles final. So far, tennis players from the same country have played in the men's doubles final only twice - Great Britain in 1908 in London and team USA in 1904 in St. Louis.

The more dominant and well-coordinated Mektić and Pavić won the first set 6-4, though Čilić and Dodig came back fierce in the second with a break to win it 6-4.

The decision fell in a super tie-break that Mektić and Pavić opened with a furious 6:0. Čilić and Dodig managed to get closer at 8:6, but the best tennis pair in the world took the next two points for the Olympic gold. 

DSC_5549.JPG

Slobodan Kadic

After winning eight ATP tournaments in their first season playing together, the most important of which is Wimbledon, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić are the Olympic champions and justified their status as the first seed of the tournament. 

DSC_6271.JPG

Slobodan Kadic

Thus, the fourth and fifth medals in the history of Croatian tennis at the Olympic Games were officially won. The first two were won in 1992 in Barcelona when Goran Ivanišević won bronze in singles and doubles with Goran Prpić. Mario Ančić and Ivan Ljubičić also took bronze in Athens in 2004.

DSC_6380.JPG

Slobodan Kadic

Croatia is now on six Olympic medals in Tokyo. Gold went to Matea Jelić, Martin and Valent Sinković, and Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić. Ivan Dodig and Marin Čilić are the first silver Croatian athletes from Tokyo, and Toni Kanaet and Damir Martin won bronze. 

DSC_6727.JPG

Slobodan Kadic

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