Sunday, 8 May 2022

ATP Challenger Zagreb Open Brings Tennis Back to Capital

May 8, 2022 - The upcoming edition of the ATP Challenger Zagreb Open is held from May 8 to 14 on the grounds of TC Maksimir.

The ATP Challenger Zagreb Open is the only and largest men's international professional tennis tournament held in the city of Zagreb, and 64 tennis players from more than 40 countries will compete for a prize fund of $52,080. Croatian tennis players will also take part in the tournament, including Borna Gojo, Nino Serdarušić, Mili Poljičak, and Dino Prižmić.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome the new edition of the ATP Challenger Zagreb Open. From the sound names, we can single out the best Bosnian tennis player Damir Džumhur. In addition, we are extremely pleased with the large number of Croatian players who will play in the tournament," said the tournament director Goran Belošević. This year's tournament is back in full glory, and not only will it be open to spectators, but admission to tennis matches will be completely free.

"This tournament is a great opportunity for the development of us players, and I hope to play my best tennis. Furthermore, this is a great opportunity to win new points. I hope for a good week because participating in the Zagreb Open means a lot to us tennis players, and I am looking forward to the start of the tournament," said Borna Gojo. The ATP Challenger Zagreb Open is part of the Croatian Tennis Pro Tournaments series. This series is part of the initiative of the Croatian Tennis Federation, which seeks to enable Croatia's young tennis players to collect points and experience on home courts, all before the start of Roland Garros.

“The Croatian Tennis Federation has launched a series of Croatian Tennis Pro Tournaments, which is how we tried to bring as many professional tournaments as possible to Croatia. The ATP Challenger Zagreb Open is a great springboard for our young players who have the opportunity to play in a tournament like this at home. We are thrilled that we can help young players who are just climbing the ladder, and it is a great advantage because they will play in front of the home crowd," said the Executive Director of the Croatian Tennis Federation, Vladimir Jovanoski.

"Congratulations to the organizer, and thank you very much for the opportunity to enjoy top tennis. I invite all sports and tennis fans to come to TC Maksimir, and I wish our players a lot of success in the tournament," said the assistant head of the City Office for Education, Sports, and Youth, Milan Pavelic.

The Zagreb Ladies Open was held the week before, and the return of the men's ATP Challenger will confirm Zagreb's place on the world tennis map this spring. The tournament is supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Croatian Tennis Federation, and the City of Zagreb, which are partners in this tournament.

Source: HTS

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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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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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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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Friday, 2 July 2021

Marin Čilić against Daniil Medvedev in 3rd Round of Wimbledon!

July 2, 2021 - It will be Marin Čilić against Daniil Medvedev, the 2nd-best tennis player in the world, in the third round of Wimbledon to be played on Saturday. 

The top-ranked Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić (ATP - 37) advanced to the third round of Wimbledon after defeating French qualifier Benjamin Bonzi (ATP - 119) on Thursday 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5 ) after three hours and three minutes of play.

In the third round, Čilić will play against the second-best tennis player in the world, Russian Daniil Medvedev, who defeated Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

It will be their second duel, though the first was played two years ago in Washington when the Russian tennis player celebrated in two sets (6-4, 7-6).

By entering the third round, Marin achieved his best result at Wimbledon since 2017, when he came one step closer to the title, losing in the final to Roger Federer in three sets.

Čilić was a better opponent against Bonzi, leaving the Frenchman without a chance to break in three of the four sets. His only issue was serving in the second set when he allowed Bonzi to reach two consecutive breaks in the fourth and sixth games, but it did not last long.

The key to winning the first set was a break in the ninth game, after which he used the first set point. After losing the second set, Čilić recovered very quickly and, with one break, took the lead with 3-0 at the beginning of the third set. That was a sufficient advantage, as Bonzi did not get much of a chance. In the fourth set, Čilić missed two opportunities to break in the third game.

The decision to end or continue the match fell in a tie-break in which Čilić took a 5-1 lead, and Bonzi came close to 5-4 with three consecutive points. Čilić won the next point on the serve and reached two match points. He missed the first but turned the second into a win.

It was Čilić's 31st win at the All England Club, and for the eighth time in his career, he reached at least the third round at Wimbledon. He will now face Daniil Medvedev, who equaled his best Wimbledon result achieved in the last two editions of the third Grand Slam tournament of the season by entering the third round.

Source: HRT

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Wednesday, 5 May 2021

ATP Challenger Zagreb Open, First Professional Tennis Tournament in Capital Since 2015

May 5, 2021 - The ATP Challenger Zagreb Open will be the first professional tennis tournament in the Croatian capital since 2015 and the last edition of Zagreb Indoors. reports that the ATP Challenger Zagreb Open, a tennis tournament with a prize fund of 44,820 euros, to be held from May 9 to 15 at the Maksimir Tennis Center, was presented at the Sheraton Hotel in Zagreb on Tuesday.

It will be the first professional tennis tournament in the Croatian capital since 2015 and the last edition of Zagreb Indoors.

"Great love for tennis and enthusiasm and desire for men's professional tennis to return to the city of Zagreb led to this tournament. I think this is a great thing for our city and Croatia and that the tournament will become a traditional and recognizable Zagreb sports event. Our wish is to reach the ATP 250 tournament status, but we are going step by step," said the director of the Zagreb Open Goran Belošević when presenting the tournament.

The list of registered players is led by 29-year-old Argentine Federico Coria, currently the 92nd tennis player in the world, who is the younger brother of Guillermo Coria, once third in the ATP rankings who was a finalist at Roland Garros in 2004. Among the more famous names are 33-year-old Leonardo Mayer, who was the 21st tennis player in the world six years ago and played for the Argentine national team in 2016, which won the Davis Cup, 28-year-old Bosnian tennis player Damir Džumhur, who reached 23rd place in the individual ATP rankings in 2018, and Portuguese Joao Sousa, who reached 28th place in the world five years ago.

"The final list will be known only on Friday, but I can announce that it will be one of the strongest Challengers 80 this year," said Belošević.

The organizers have at their disposal three invitations for the main tournament and the same number for the qualifications, most of which should be given to Croatian tennis players. One of them is 24-year-old Nino Serdarušić from Zagreb.

"I am glad that we finally have a tournament of this type in the capital. I think this is a great opportunity for the development of all players and, of course, for the future of Zagreb and Croatian tennis. I hope that the Croatian Tennis Pro Tournaments series will become a tradition because it is something. It means a lot to us tennis players. I am looking forward to the start of the Zagreb tournament," said the Croatian Davis Cup national team member who reached the quarterfinals at last week's ATP Challenger in Rome in the same category as the Zagreb tournament. At the same time, he won two of the three previous Croatian Challengers, two in Split and Zadar.

The Zagreb Open is also part of the Croatian Tennis Pro Tournaments series under the Croatian Tennis Federation (HTS), as part of which ten professional tennis tournaments for tennis players will be held in nine Croatian cities this year.

"We tried to bring as many professional tournaments as possible to Croatia. The Istrian Riviera series is well-known, organized for the 49th year in a row this year, and the Challenger was organized in Zadar for the first time. Zagreb has always had a women's tennis tournament, and now is the time for the men's tournament to return after a few years," said the director of the Croatian Tennis Federation, Vlatko Jovanoski.

In addition to HTS, the Zagreb Open is supported by the City of Zagreb and the City Office for Sports and Youth.

"Tennis is a recognized sport in Zagreb, and I am glad that after Zagreb Indoors, another tournament is being held in our city. Sports events are an opportunity to send a positive message from Zagreb to Europe and the world, an invitation to tourists. No economic activity should also be neglected, which means a lot in these pandemic conditions," said the acting mayor of the City of Zagreb, Jelena Pavičić Vukičević.

Due to anti-epidemic measures, the tournament will be closed to the public, and matches will be available to watch via the streaming service on the official website of the ATP Tour ( and the social networks of HTS.

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Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Croatian Tennis Federation Rejects Established Croatia Player for Brother's Social Media Posts?

April 21, 2021 - An avid member of the Croatian tennis community and organizer of the Croatia Bol Open, Feliks Lukas announced on his Facebook page that the Croatian Tennis Federation (HTS) rejected the request of his sister, Tena Lukas, to play at the ITF Zagreb Ladies Open. 

His Facebook post transmitted from 24 Sata:

"The Croatian Tennis Federation rejected the request to invite the seven-time senior national team member and #268 WTA tennis player of the world to the ITF Zagreb Ladies Open, explaining it to Tena as follows:

'Because of your brother's Facebook posts, you are not a candidate for an invitation to the tournament!'

There is no question that the tournament organizer can invite whoever they want, which is justified, and there is no dilemma. In fact, I don’t think it’s exciting at all, nor sportsmanlike to comment on. It should be accepted that each organizer has their own vision and program, and that is ok. And I use this opportunity to wish the tournament in Zagreb a lot of luck, and I am convinced that it will be a successful and strong tournament with many good tennis players. I hope it will be around for many more years and grow.

My comment refers exclusively to the given reasoning and the North Korean methods of “education” and “proportional punishment” of athletes, which once again show the superior competence of the pedagogical quality of the HTS leadership itself. I can only say touché to the umbrella association of Croatian tennis," wrote Feliks on his personal Facebook profile. 

After the post, Lukas explained to 24 Sata why he was so angry: 

"Of course, every organizer has the right to invite whoever they want; I told my sister that she has to work on her own ranking so that she would not even need an invitation. We are a sports family, and we do not want to whine, and it was not the rejection of the invitation that prompted me to publish, but the way of communication and explanation. Obviously, the HTS is in a kind of "fight" with me because of my statements and provocations; this is nothing new, but, sadly, they are dealing with my family like this through me. Two years ago, my other sister, Tajna, was fired from HTS," Lukas said and added:

"These are your "Croatian jobs," they are trying to eliminate me as a hindrance in various ways because I called them out because of incompetence. Our tennis is generally in chaos, most clubs don’t work, and I say that publicly. Since I am not politically engaged and networked, that I come from a family of educators, and I organize a big tournament, it is obvious that I am a threat to them. But it's one thing, it's not a topic, the topic is the way of communication, the topic is how they treat one player completely non-pedagogically, and what kind of message they send to her and everyone else. It bothered me a lot, and that's why I reacted," he concluded. 

The Croatian Tennis Federation gave their reason for not inviting the tennis player 24 Sata.

"As a member of the Croatia national team, Tena Lukas was certainly among the candidates for an invitation to the Zagreb Ladies Open because she deserved this opportunity with her performances in the former Fed Cup (now the Billie Jean King Cup) and on an individual level. However, her latest results were crucial not to be shortlisted this time: she played seven tournaments this year and she was eliminated in all seven in the first round, either in the main event or in the qualifiers. Therefore, other Croatian tennis players got the advantage, so the claims that comments on social media were crucial for not giving Tena Lukas a chance really have no basis," HTS spokesman Igor Rajković replied.

Lukas followed HTS's statement by outlining on Facebook every reason why HTS was wrong in what they did:

"Regarding my previous Facebook comment, which was transmitted in the Croatian media, HTS had to comment with its official press release, and it just confirmed how uneducated and inexperienced they are in the development of Croatian sports, specifically tennis.

Namely, in its defense, HTS stated that the mentioned tennis player Tena Lukas did not get a wild card because she has practically not been able to beat anyone lately. 

Their announcement to anyone in the educational system would be a reason for dismissal. Physical and health education teachers, together with tennis coaches, need to change their way of educating and approaching the development of athletes, as HTS imposes new innovative standards in the development of mental strength and preparation of athletes. 

And if you are still a layman when it comes to educational methods, imagine the following situations and put aside the fact that the HTS accused the tennis player of lying, and imagine the following situations:

1) Imagine that you are a 25-year-old tennis player who is currently in a game crisis, but who also performed at the state senior tennis championship organized by HTS a record number of times with a title, 7 times in a row, and that the same HTS sends you a message through the media that you are incompetent and that you can't beat anyone, and that you didn't deserve an invitation from them for the tournament qualifiers.

2) Now imagine the situation that you are the #274 tennis player in the world in the WTA rankings, and that the WTA is the strongest "brand" in women's sports globally, and that Croatia, along with Martic and Vekic in the top 100, has 4 girls ranked 200th to 300th in the world (Konjuh, Mrdeža, Fett, Lukas), but HTS thinks that you can't beat anyone lately, and they list every painful defeat with which they explain to you pedagogically.

3) Imagine a situation where you played 13 times for the Croatia tennis FED CUP team and achieved 6 victories for the same. That you accepted a performance for that FED CUP when no one wanted to play (obviously due to the great reputation of HTS), and that with your performances that year, you ensured that Croatia remained in the Euro-African group. Imagine that when HTS needed to save the day, you responded and were there, and you never got anything from HTS, not even an appointment for training in Zagreb. Imagine the humiliation when HTS retaliates with a roll call for lying and the media "shit" on you as you lost in the first round of seven matches. Even in the qualifiers. I would guess that they would motivate you to play better and that they are there for all Croatian tennis players. Surely many will still dream of playing for HTS, Davis Cup, and Billie Jean King Cup, i.e., Fed Cup. After all, if you think that Pera and Tomljanović play for the USA and Australia because HTS is really worked on them, let this story serve as an example.

If all the above reasons were not enough for Tena to get a wild card for the quality of the ITF tournament in Croatia, then they must have been enough so that her self-confidence and pride are not spat on by those who would have to take care of her career to live in a more developed society. They easily accused her of lying and covered up the explanation they gave her in the phone call, but what they told the media is even 100 times worse and more miserable. And that says it all about what kind of people manage Croatian tennis.

Now imagine for the end the situation that Ana Konjuh did not get a wild card for the Australian Open and Miami Open with this explanation. How much the Miami Open and Croatian tennis would have been missed because of that if they had characters from HTS as "decision-makers."

Fortunately, HTS does not organize the WTA tournament in Bol, which is silent suffering for them, because Petra Martic would never get a wild card, as she did in 2016 at the WTA Croatia Bol Open when she was the 420th tennis player in the world, and when no one but family and a few connoisseurs of sports believed that Petra would be in the top 100 again very soon. Petra won the doubles trophy at that edition of the tournament and soon began her journey to the top.

As the organizer of the tennis tournament, I did everything despite all obstacles to help young talented tennis players from all over the world, so today, the young ATP lions Casper Ruud and Jordan Thompson and countless Croatian tennis players played in Bol at tournaments organized by me. World media would never know that Bol was the best place in the world for Nadia Podoroska, who played in the semifinals of the RG this year, if HTS had been asked.

But I am most proud that in 2019, for the first time in the history of Croatian women's tennis, as many as 4 Croatian tennis players performed in the main tournament of a WTA tournament. This never happened before the WTA tournament in Bol in 2019, and the invitations that Martic, Konjuh, Boskovic, Fett, Biskic, and others received in Bol, and of course Lukas, they did not receive at the request of HTS, nor did HTS ever ask for invitations for those girls, nor did they care. But good luck for the WTA Croatia Bol Open and for Croatian tennis that HTS does not grant invitations in Bol.

Namely, I never received a letter of support or a positive comment from HTS. Still, I received an official e-mail after the mentioned edition of the 2019 tournament, where 4 Croatian tennis players had a safe entrance to the main tournament, that I harmed the Croatian Tennis Federation by not inviting senior board members of HTS. And I can't lie about that because there is written evidence. And at the same time, their employees, the then executive director, and sports director slept in Bol at the expense of the WTA tournament. But HTS obviously wanted the bus to come to them; they devour them and spend money on someone else's account.

Tajna Lukas Recic was fired upon returning from maternity leave because they were redistributing their jobs (after that, they hired new people because there is no place for a master of kinesiology and a former state tennis champion) and not because her last name is Lukas. And it seems that Tena did not receive an invitation either, because with seven titles in the senior competition, a few in the junior competition, and a #268 world ranking, she still doesn't know how to play tennis enough according to HTS - and not because her last name is Lukas.

P.S. The organizer, I note, has the right to assign a wild card to anyone, and that is their discretion. Being a tennis player without a single point or top 100 does not mean that they need to play a toilet of a tournament. But the point of this story is how the umbrella association of a sport in a democratic country communicates with the athletes who represent that same country.

Because it was a phone call, I don't have a written trace ... The fact is that Tena played for HTS when everyone rightly rejected them, and the same is the fact that HTS beat the same tennis player through the media, accusing her of lying publicly, and added that she lost the last 7 matches in the first round and in the qualifiers. Therefore, as I said in a previous comment transmitted by the media, TOUCHÉ HTS."

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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Australian Open Round One Recap: Borna Ćorić and Donna Vekić into 2nd Round

February 9, 2021 - Marin Čilić and Petra Martić have been eliminated from the Australian Open after the first round, while Borna Ćorić and Donna Vekić have advanced to the second. 

Marin Čilić was quickly eliminated in the first Grand Slam tournament of the season. The finalist of the 2018 Australian Open ended his performance in the first round this year, and was convincingly defeated in three sets by the 18th seed, Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov - 6:4, 6:2, 7:6 (5).

Marin had only four breaks during the match and used only one in the eighth game of the third set. At 5:3, he even served to win the set, but Dimitrov did not allow him to get back into the game. Marin had four aces (Dimitrov 19) during the match and recorded a first-serve percentage of 58 percent.

Fortunately, there was a good start for Borna Ćorić at this year's Australian Open. The 24-year-old from Zagreb (22nd-seed) knocked out Argentine Guido Pella (ATP-44) in the first round without losing a set - 6:3, 7:6 (5), 7:5. Borna had the most problems in the second set in which Pella had a 2-0 lead, and in the tie-break of the same set, he was only two points away from making the match even (5:3). However, Borna remained strong enough and, in the end, managed to win 3:0.

He recorded 23 aces with a high first-serve percentage of 70 percent during the match and used four of the 11 breakpoints in the match. It was their second meeting and the first victory for Ćorić, whose next opponent will be American Mackenzie McDonald, the world's 192nd best tennis player.

It took Donna Vekić two hours and 40 minutes to pass the 1st round of the Australian Open; after a great fight and three sets, the Osijek native managed to find a winning combination against Chinese rival Yafan Wang (WTA-98) - 4:6, 6:3, 6:4.

Donna started the match well, led 3:2, but then lost her serve twice and fell behind in sets. Wang took the lead in the second set with 2:0, and it seemed that she was surely stepping towards victory, but Donna turned around and took the second set.

In the decisive set, which was played for more than an hour, Wang had a 3:2 advantage, but Donna ultimately won with a final break in the 10th game.

In the second round, she will face last year's Roland Garros semi-finalist, Argentine Nadia Podoroska, currently the 45th best tennis player globally.

Petra Martić finished her time at the Australian Open and was surprised by the Serbian qualifier Olga Danilović (WTA-183) - 7:5, 3:6, 6:4. Petra lost the first set, but by winning the second, she was back in the match. She even led 3:1 in the decisive set but managed to win only one game until the end of match.

Danilović took a 4:3 lead, Martić equalized at 4:4, but no longer had the strength for the victory.  

Source: HTS

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Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic Going After Olympic Medal as Croatian Doubles Team

November 24, 2020 - Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic will take on the tennis world next year as a doubles team, and an Olympic medal is certainly on their minds. 

HRT reports that the winner of the ATP Finals in doubles, Nikola Mektic, arrived in Zagreb on Monday evening and was greeted at the Franjo Tuđman Airport by the president of the Croatian Tennis Federation, Nikolina Babic, and numerous journalists.

Nikola Mektic and Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof won the ATP Finals in London on Sunday after beating Austria's Juergen Melzer and France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 in the final match of the season. Mektic and Koolhof could not have wished for a better ending, and closed out their one-year collaboration with a triumph at the London Crown.

At the same time, with this victory, Mektic became the first Croatian to win the ATP Finals. The closest to the title so far was Ivan Dodig, who lost to Bob and Mike Bryan in the final six years ago with partner Marcelo Melo.

"I experienced my first welcome which indicates that I must have done something great. It’s an amazing feeling I’m not yet aware of. I did not expect this success since there were a couple of extraordinary situations, i.e., changes of partners, and before the start of the tournament we had to have a difficult conversation. I didn't know how everything would turn out in the end, but from the first match, we managed to do everything professionally. The first duel was a bit harder, we got out of it and then we got better from match to match. We believed that we could beat everyone, but we did not hope for such success," said Mektic and added:

"The first reactions are really strange and as soon as I went to my box I wanted to celebrate the victory with my boys who are equally responsible for all this. Those few minutes are an indescribable feeling. Now I’m going to dedicate a little to rest. I hope that the Australian Open will still happen in January, and preparations await us soon."

Next season, Nikola Mektic will play in pairs with Mate Pavic, another Croatian doubles expert.

"Mate Pavic and I used to talk about cooperation in the past, but it did not happen. We had a desire to play together and it suddenly happened. When Mate asked me I agreed because he is the best in the world and it’s a call I couldn’t refuse. I believe it will be an incredible partnership and I am looking forward to it," said Mektic.

One of the journalists' inquiries was whether Croatia can expect an Olympic medal in Tokyo from Mektic and Pavic.

"Yes, and our results speak in favor of that. The expectations of the public are high, but we have also set big goals. We are aware of our quality and we are ready for that challenge," said Mektic.

"This is a great success for Mektic, but also Croatian sports and tennis, and we are very proud. This is a continuation of the preparations for next year, in which the Olympic Games in Tokyo and the new Davis Cup await us, and every success is very important. We can say that this year our players have achieved success, both seniors and younger," said the president of HTS Nikolina Babić.

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Sunday, 23 August 2020

Western & Southern Open: Coric Begins with a Win, Cilic and Vekic Eliminated

August 23, 2020 - Croatian tennis player Borna Coric kicked off the Western & Southern Open in New York with a win! This was his first official match after a six-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the first round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament, which was traditionally held in Cincinnati, but this year is hosted in New York because of the pandemic, Coric competed against the Frenchman Benoit Paire, who surrendered the match after losing seven games in a row.

The young Croatian tennis player won the first set 6-0 after only half an hour of play, and after winning the first game of the second set, the Frenchman surrendered the match.

In the next round, Coric will face Belgian player David Goffin, who was free in the first round. It will be their fifth meeting, and Goffin won the previous four. However, the last time they played was in 2016.

The only female Croatian representative at the WTA Western & Southern Open tournament, Donna Vekic, was defeated in the first round by Belarusian Viktoria Azarenka 2-6, 3-6.

It was their third meeting and the first victory of the Belarusian tennis player.

Marin Cilic was eliminated by Canadian Denis Shapovalov, the 12th seed and 16th best tennis player in the world, with a score of 6:3, 6:3.

The Canadian won the first set after the break in the sixth game, and in the second, he took Marin's serve in the third and ninth games. Cilic reached one break-point during the whole match (at 2:2 in the first set), which he did not use, scoring two aces with a first-serve percentage of 65%.

This was their fourth meeting and Shapovalov's third victory.

Source: HTS

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