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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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Slobodan Kadic

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Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić into Olympic Doubles Semifinals, Confirm Medal for Croatia!

July 28, 2021 - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić thus join Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig in the Olympic doubles semifinals!

Croatia's Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić won a spot in the semifinals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo with a victory against Japan's Nishikori and McLachlan 6:3, 6:3.

"It feels good, we played a really good match. Honestly, I expected it to be harder. Nishikori is a great player in singles and McLachlan great in doubles. It was a lot harder for us the day before yesterday against the Italians. Today we served well and saved some key break points that broke the match. We are overjoyed and look forward to the semi-finals," Pavić began in a statement after the match.

Their next opponents are team USA's Tennys Sandgren and Austin Krajicek, who beat Germany's Struff and Zverev 6:3, 7:6 in the quarterfinals.

"I have already lost to the Americans. It will be difficult, it is the semifinals, so we can't expect anything else," Mektić commented briefly.

Pavić is pleased that they have become accustomed to the conditions in Tokyo.

"It's playing more and more, the ball is more on the court, it's not all over with service and returns. We've gotten used to the conditions and I hope we continue to play like this."

"There is no fatigue, the stakes are too high to think about fatigue," Mektić added.

Along with Pavić and Mektić, Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig also reached the semifinals. 

"The Croatian public and journalists write everything, it could be read that the way to gold is open for us, that in principle no one plays at the Olympics except us, which is a total absurdity. We can see it in the results and difficult matches between us and Čilić and Dodig; I don't know if people are aware of what this result is for us and for them. We were the only ones to have two representatives in the quarterfinals and now in the semifinals. It's fascinating. We all want a Croatian final and that would be a wonderful story, but we have another difficult match," said Pavić, and Mektić agreed:

"We are not modest, but realistic. Doubles are a game where several balls decide. The scoring system is very open and equalizes things. As phenomenal as our form and results are, we have won a lot of matches on just one or two balls. We are aware that we have to play our best tennis to win."

Croatia has thus confirmed at least one medal in tennis doubles!

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Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Olympic Games: Čilić and Dodig into Doubles Semifinals in Tokyo!

July 28, 2021 - Croatia's Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig have advanced to the tennis doubles semifinals in Tokyo! 

Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig defeated Great Britan's Andy Murray / Joe Salisbury 4-6, 7-6 (2), 10-7 after two hours and 15 minutes of play at the Ariaki Center on Wednesday. 

Čilić and Dodig 6:4 lost in the first, and after winning the first, the British duo broke in the second as well. Murray and Salisbury looked better on the court and led 4:2, but in the eighth game, the Croatian side broke and returned to the game. 

In the tie-break of the second set, Čilić and Dodig played excellently and won the third set with three mini-breaks. Čilić and Dodig used the second match point to win the match and advance to the semifinals. 

In the semifinals, Čilić and Dodig will play against New Zealand's Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell. They knocked out the favored Colombian side, Cabal and Farah.

Two Croatian doubles teams are still playing today - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić, and Ivan Dodig and Darija Jurak in mixed doubles.

If Mektić and Pavić win their match, Croatia will certainly have at least a bronze medal in tennis, because, in case of defeat, both Croatian teams would meet in the semifinal in the bronze medal fight. Mektić and Pavić play against Japan's McLachlan and Nishikori.

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Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Vekić Out, Čilić and Dodig in Tennis Doubles Quarterfinals at Olympic Games

July 27, 2021 - Čilić and Dodig are in the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, while Donna Vekić was knocked out in the 3rd round. 

Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig advanced to the quarterfinals of the doubles tournament at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, beating Americans Rajeev Ram and Frances Tiafoe 6:3, 7:5 in an hour and 31 minutes of play.

Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig repeated their best Olympic result achieved in London in 2012 when they were defeated in the quarterfinals by Spain's David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez.

"Marin is top-notch in these two matches, and it's much easier for me and I really enjoy it. Now it's just a question of how much we will play, stronger opponents are coming," Dodig said. 

"I feel good in doubles, the training with Ivan helped me a lot in those few days before the start. Now I have done it individually and acclimatized. Ivan's brother and my schoolmate helped us a lot with advice. Another great match today, Ram is a top player in doubles, Ivan knows him and he knew how to recognize several situations in the match that brought us key points."

For the semifinals, they will fight against Great Britan's Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury, who immediately knocked out second-placed French team Herbert and Mahut in the first round. In the second round, they were better than Germany's Krawietz / Puetz 6:2, 7:6 (2).

Mektić and Pavić's opponents in the quarterfinals are Japan's McLachlan and Nishikori. Mektić and Pavić are the first-seeded players, they are in the top part of the draw and they cannot meet Čilić and Dodig until the final.

After knocking out France's Garcia and third-ranked Belarusian Arina Sabalenka in three sets, Donna Vekić from Osijek was left without a place in the quarterfinals of the Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo, where she was defeated by Kazakhstan's Jelena Ribakina 7-6 in the 3rd round (3), 6-4 after 101 minutes of play. 

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Monday, 26 July 2021

Croatia Tennis at Olympic Games: Vekić into 3rd Round, Čilić Out, Mektić and Pavić in Quarters!

July 26, 2021 - Croatia tennis at Olympic Games - Donna Vekić moves to the 3rd round, Čilić has been eliminated from the singles tournament, and Mektić and Pavić are in the quarterfinals! 

Croatian tennis player Donna Vekić advanced to the round of 16 of the Olympic Games in Tokyo after defeating the third-best tennis player in the world, Belarusian Arina Sabalenka, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) in the 2nd round match. 

After two hours and 40 minutes, Vekić achieved a great victory, winning a place in the round of 16, where she will face Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina, against whom she has not yet played.

"Yes, proud of both yesterday's and today's match. Aryna is playing the best tennis ever this year, she is third in the world and it is not easy to beat her, she even led in the third set. But I fought like a lioness and finally won," said Donna, who spent nearly five and a half hours in two matches in Tokyo, in the scorching sun and unbearable conditions.

In the fight for the quarterfinals, Vekić will face Rybakina.

"We have never played or trained, so I don't know her. We will do an analysis and get ready," said Donna. 

Marin Čilić was eliminated in the 2nd round of the singles tournament. He was defeated by Pablo Carreno Busta 5:7, 6:4, 6:4.

The Spaniard, currently the 11th player in the world, celebrated for the first time against the Croatian, who is 38th in the ATP rankings.

Čilić took the first set (7:5), but Busta proved his excellent form, which he showed by winning the tournament in Hamburg last week, with a turnaround and a victory.

Čilić's only victory in singles at the Games in Tokyo remained the one he barely won in the first round, after three and a half hours, against Joao Menezes, the 267th player in the world.

However, Čilić remains in Tokyo in the doubles tournament with Ivan Dodig.

Croatian tennis players Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić reached the doubles quarterfinals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, defeating Italy's Lorenzo Musetti / Lorenzo Sonego 7:5, 6:7 (5) 10:7 after just over two hours of play.

In the quarterfinals, they will play against Japan's Ben McLachlan / Kei Nishikori, who defeated Great Britain's Murray / Skupski 6:3, 6:4 in the round of 16 after one hour and 21 minutes of play.

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Sunday, 25 July 2021

Croatia Tennis at Olympic Games: Donna Vekić into 2nd Round!

July 25, 2021 - Croatia tennis at Olympic Games - Donna Vekić is into the 2nd round after defeating French tennis player Caroline Garcia!

Donna Vekić (WTA 47th) advanced to the second round of the Olympic tournament with a 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 victory over French tennis player Caroline Garcia (WTA 73rd). This was their ninth match and the fifth victory for the Osijek tennis player. In the next round, Vekic will play against the third-best player in the world, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, reports Nacional.hr.

Vekić won the first set convincingly with 6-2, with a first-serve percentage of 69%, and had two breaks. In the second set, Vekić's serving dropped below 50%, and Garcia broke at 2-0. However, Vekić managed to return immediately, forcing it into a tie break in which she did not win a single point on her serve. It ended 7-2 for Garcia.

After a 10-minute break between the second and third sets (the decision of the ITF due to the heat), Vekić continued well, broke her opponent, and took a 2-0 lead. However, Garcia immediately returned to 2-2, and at 3-2, Vekić used the third break point for 4-2.

Vekić hit two aces for 5-2. At 5-3, Garcia had a break point to return to the match, but Vekić got away and immediately used the first match point to win after two hours and 50 minutes of play.

Vekić will look for a place in the round of 16 against Belarusian Arina Sabaljenka, who beat Polish player Magda Linette 6:2, 6:1.

Just before the end of today's program, Donna is expecting another performance. In the 1st round of the doubles tournament with Darija Jurak, she plays against team USA's Melichar and Riska.

In other tennis news, Croatia doubles team Ivan Dodig and Marin Čilić defeated Japan's Daniel / Nishioka 6-2, 6-4 in an hour of play without much difficulty. 

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