Saturday, 7 March 2020

Davis Cup Qualifiers: Brilliant Cilic Takes Croatia to Finals!

March 7, 2020 - Marin Cilic celebrated 6-0, 6-1 against Sumit Nagal, bringing Croatia its third point against India and spot in the finals this November in Madrid.

After the defeat of Mate Pavic and Frank Skugor in the doubles match, Marin Cilic was class. On a relatively fast court, Cilic used all his strengths and, for the 11th time in his career, brought the winning point to the Croatia Davis Cup team.

Marin rushed through the first set in 29 minutes. The second set was even quicker, and the 22-year-old Indian player managed to retain his serve once and save himself from a 6-0, 6-0 defeat. It took only 56 minutes for Cilic to win the match.

Before the duel, Rohit Rajpal set Nagal instead of Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who lost to Borna Gojo on the first day, but the move did not prove wise or useful. The impression is that Gunneswaran would have been a much tougher rival, but for an inspired Cilic, as we watched on Friday and Saturday in Zagreb, he would still not be good enough.

Croatia justified its role of favorites, just as Marin Cilic justified his status as the best tennis player in this duel. In just over eight months, Croatia will once again be one of the 18 national teams to compete for the Cup in Madrid. Qualifying for the finals in Madrid brought $300,000 to the Croatian Tennis Federation, and US  $600,000 will be shared by national team members.

The final tournament is scheduled for November 23-29, 2020. Spain, Canada, the United Kingdom and Russia qualified as last year's semifinalists, Serbia and France have received invitations, and through qualifications, Croatia, Ecuador, Australia, Italy, Germany, Kazakhstan, Sweden and Austria will compete. 

The draw of the final tournament group will be held on Thursday, March 12 (5 pm) in London.

Source: HRT

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

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Davis Cup Qualifiers: Croatia Takes 2:0 Lead Over India in Zagreb

March 7, 2020 - The Croatia tennis team is one step closer to the Davis Cup finals in Madrid.

Marin Cilic needed two tiebreaks to bring Croatia its second point in the second qualifying match against Ramkumar Ramanathan for the Davis Cup finals, which is played at the end of the year in Madrid. 

For his 40th Davis Cup win and 30th in individual matches, Cilic kept Croatian fans on their toes and saved a set-point in both tie-breakers against the 25-year-old Ramanathan, who proved to be a very tough rival.

In the first set, Ramanathan came to the advantage first in the tie-break (5-4). He also had a set-point at 6-5, which he wasn’t able to use. At 8-8, Ramanathan complained that Cilic was procrastinating and taking too much time to prepare.

The second set followed the same scenario of the first, with the difference that both players missed two opportunities to break. Cilic had his chance in the third and ninth games, and Ramanathan had both in the sixth. In the end, the outcome was again in the tie-break, which Ramanathan opened with a 2-0 lead.

Cilic returned the loss immediately and at 5-4 missed a forehand for two match-points. Marin led 6-5 and missed the forehand again to win.

At 7-6, Ramanathan had a chance to take the match into the third set, but Cilic completed the task. At 9-8, Ramanathan couldn’t save the third match-point. Cilic, coach Vedran Martic, the entire Croatian team, and fans in Zagreb could finally breathe a sigh of relief. 

Cilic finished the game with 20 aces and won 85 percent of his first-serve points

Croatia is missing just one more point in order to qualify for the finals in Madrid from November 23 to 29, 2020.

On Saturday from 3 pm Mate Pavic and Franko Skugor will play against Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes in the doubles match, followed by the singles matches featuring Cilic and Gunneswaran and Gojo against Ramanathan.


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

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Davis Cup: Croatia Tennis to Play India in Zagreb for Spot in 2020 Finals

February 27, 2020 - The Davis Cup match between the Croatia tennis team and India will be held in the small hall of Dom Sportova in Zagreb from March 6-7. At a presentation at the Westin Hotel in Zagreb, the organizing committee confirmed that all preparations were in full swing and once again urged fans not to miss the opportunity to cheer on Croatian tennis stars at home.

HRT reports that the Croatia tennis team will meet the national team of India in Hall 2 of Dom Sportova from March 6-7, 2020. The winner will secure a spot at the Davis Cup finals in Madrid in November.

“The stakes are really high and India needs to be taken seriously, especially since they are coming with the strongest squad possible. We are not complete, we will wait for Coric until the draw on Thursday, March 4, but I think that without him we have enough strength to, with the support of our fans, record the win,”  said national team coach Vedran Martic at a news conference in Zagreb ahead of the Croatia-India Davis Cup series.

Borna Coric sustained a hand injury in Rio de Janeiro, but since it is not a serious injury, we will wait until the last minute, Martic added.

Marin Cilic (ATP - 36), Borna Gojo (ATP - 276), Nino Serdarusic (ATP - 295) and two doubles specialists Ivan Dodig (ATP - 10) and Mate Pavic (ATP - 16) will play for the Croatia national team.

India national team coach Rohit Rajpal is bringing the strongest possible lineup for the qualifiers against Croatia in Zagreb,  in which the highest-ranked player in the individual competition is 22-year-old Sumit Nagal (ATP - 127), and a strong veteran doubles team will consist of 39-year-old Rohan Bopanna and 46-year-old legend Leander Paes.

In addition, 30-year-old Prajnesh Gunneswaran (ATP - 127) and 25-year-old Ramkumar Ramanathan (ATP - 180) will compete in the individual matches.

“India will base their tactics on two wins against our other player, be it Gojo or Serdarusic, and they have a great and experienced doubles team of Bopanna-Paes if they play. But we also have a great doubles team, Pavic-Dodig, and I believe that Gojo and Serdarusic have a chance to record at least one win. Cilic is in good form, although he lost in Dubai. The good thing is that we also have seven days of training and getting used to the grounds,” Martic said.

The match will be played on a hard court in the Small Hall of Zagreb's Dom Sportova. On the first day, Saturday, March 6, there are two singles matches scheduled, and on Sunday, the doubles will be played first, followed by the singles.

“I am glad that the Davis Cup is back in Croatia again, and this is an opportunity for Croatian fans to finally see our best tennis players. I expect a win and a good atmosphere,” said Croatian Tennis Federation (HTS) President Nikolina Babic.

The match between Croatian and India in Zagreb will be one of twelve qualifying rounds, and the winners will join last year's semifinalists Spain, Canada, the United Kingdom and Russia, as well as the national teams that received the invitation, Serbia and France.

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

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Davis Cup Madrid: Croatia Knocked Out After Loss to Spain

November 20, 2019 - The Croatia tennis team will not defend their title at the Davis Cup this year. reports that the Croatia tennis team registered their second defeat in the final tournament of the new Davis Cup format. After losing to Russia 0:3 on Monday, the title defenders lost to Spain with an unreachable result of 0:2.

Roberto Bautista Agut scored the first point for Spain, beating Nikola Mektic 6:1, 6:3 in just 57 minutes of play. In the second match, Rafael Nadal, the world’s best tennis player, defeated Borna Gojo 6:4, 6:3 in 30 minutes.

Croatia was left with no prospect of reaching the quarterfinals, and thus without a chance to defend the title of Davis Cup.

Croatia needed a 3:0 win against Spain to stay in the top eight. However, without Marin Cilic, who did not travel to Madrid, and without Borna Coric, who retired from the tournament today due to exhaustion, it was nearly impossible to expect a 3:0 victory over Spain, led by Rafael Nadal.

After Coric pulled out on Tuesday, Nikola Mektic, who made his last singles appearance over two and a half years ago in the Cincinnati qualifiers, was chosen to save the day. 

Mektic and Bautista Agut, currently the ninth-best tennis player in the world, had never played one another before tonight. 

The Croatian tennis player won the first game, but that was all he showed in the rest of the set. With three breaks in 26 minutes, the Spaniard won the set with a score of 6:1. Agut continued his great series in the second set, receiving three games in a row. Mektic reduced it to 1:3, breaking Agut's nine-game streak.

By the end of the set, the 30-year-old Zagreb native no longer lost his serve, but failed to make up for the break and ended the set with a score of 6:3 for the Spaniard.

In the second match, the 21-year-old debutant for Croatia solidly resisted Nadal, especially in the first set.

Gojo held on to 4:4 in the first set, saving four break points - three in the first game and one in the seventh game. Unfortunately, in the ninth game, Nadal took away Gojo’s serve and then safely served for 6:4 after 45 minutes of play. In the second set, he lost his serve in the first and ninth games for the final score of 6:3.

Recall, the young Croatian tennis player, who played for American Wake Forest University, joined the Croatia team after Marin Cilic’s injury. 

Croatia will try to win a consolation point when Ivan Dodig and Ante Pavic face Marcel Granollers and Rafael Nadal in the final doubles match. 

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

Monday, 18 November 2019

Davis Cup Madrid: Russia Tops Croatia 3:0 in First Round

November 18, 2019 - The Davis Cup debuted its new format on Monday in Madrid. Croatia kicked off their competition in Group B against Russia. 

The Croatia national tennis team lost the first duel on Monday, when Borna Gojo, a 21-year-old debutant for Croatia, was defeated by Andrey Rublev 3:6, 3:6 after an hour and eight minutes of play.

Borna Gojo (ATP-280), who only made his way into the world of professional tennis three months ago, had a poor start to the match against the favored Rublev, the 23rd best player in the world. He lost his service in the first game, but managed to collect himself and immediately return with a break. However, the remainder of the first set was a one-way street in which the Russian tennis player took Gojo’s serve two more times.

At the start of the second set, Gojo had two consecutive breaks but did not use them. Rublev then came to a break and routinely concluded the match in his favor.

Gojo played for American Wake Forest University and joined Croatia after Marin Cilic dropped out due to injury. Interim coach Franko Skugor opted for Gojo because he felt he could do better on a faster basis than Nino Serdarusic.

“I’m not satisfied, I had some chances, but I didn't serve well enough. My serve was not at the level as usual, and especially not at the level for this match. I also had occasions where I could be more aggressive, but I was nervous, so I played safely.  We will get the positive things out of this match and try to be as good as possible on Wednesday," Gojo said after his performance.

In the second match, Croatia’s best tennis player Borna Coric lost to Karen Khachanov 7:6(4), 4:6, 4:6.

Coric opened the match well, won the first set, but unfortunately lost his energy in the continuation of the match due to recent virus. Hachanov thus turned the result in his favor.

There was not too much excitement in the first set until it was 3:3 and both tennis players held their serves. Khachanov had three consecutive break points to lead 4:3. However, Borna managed to even it at 4:4. The set was then decided in the thirteenth game. Hachanov led 2:0 with a mini break, but Borna returned and had a tiebreak at 7:4.

In the second set, Khachanov managed to equalize, and the key was the seventh game in which Khachanov broke Coric for the 4:3 lead. In the next game, Borna had the opportunity to get back the game he lost, but failed.

Coric dwindled in the third set. In the fifth game, he saved four break points, but in the seventh game, he struggled and Khachanov came to a great advantage, which he defended until the end of the match.

It was their third encounter and the first win for the 17th best tennis player in the world. Coric won his first two matches in 2017 in Rotterdam and Milan.

“I played the first set great, I even surprised myself a little, the second set, in my opinion, I was better, I didn't break him at 3:3 and then everything went downhill. My strength fell and I could no longer get anything out. I’m sorry about the second set where; I thought I had the match in control, two, three points decided the match and he prevailed. I just didn't take my chances,” Coric said.

Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic played in the doubles match that followed against Khachanov and Rublev and lost 7:6 (3), 6:4. Thus, Croatia lost 0:3 to Russia on day one.

At this year's Davis Cup, eighteen teams are divided into six groups of three teams. The winners of the groups and the two best runner-up teams will advance to the quarterfinals. All matches are played in a format with two singles matches and one doubles match.

Croatia's group also includes Spain, led by the world number one tennis player Rafael Nadal.

Spain and Russia meet tomorrow, and in the last match in the group, the title defender Croatia will play against Spain on Wednesday.

Source: HRT

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Marin Cilic Pulls Out of Davis Cup, Will be Croatia's "Most Devoted Fan"

November 7, 2019 - Marin Cilic announced on Thursday morning that he would not play in the Davis Cup this month in Madrid, to be held from November 18-24.

In a Facebook status to his 175,000 fans and an Instagram post to his 196,000 followers, Marin revealed:

With the 2019 season finished, I wanted to share an update with you all. The last year and a half has been a real struggle mentally and physically for me. Even with all the preventative work and rehab my team and I did, my recurring knee injury has continued to give me problems, and as the season progressed it was becoming more evident that surgery was inevitable. I recently did an ultrasound and luckily the results were better than expected.

The rehab work was successful enough that surgery is not necessary at this stage, however, I will need to undergo a few minor interventions which will keep me off the tennis court for a longer period and unfortunately means I will not be able to compete at the Davis Cup this month. I am extremely disappointed by this, but I believe in my teammates and will be their most devoted fan.

In the meantime, I will dedicate myself to getting back to form so that I can enter the 2020 season healthier, more prepared, and more motivated than ever. Thank you all for your constant support and I look forward to seeing you back on tour in 2020.”

Marin Cilic thus finished the 2019 season as the 39th best tennis player in the world. 

Croatia coach Zeljko Krajan allegedly knew about Cilic's problems and was ready to act in the event Cilic could not continue. According to Sportske Novosti, Krajan will return 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic to the national team. Karlovic jumped in back in 2016 thanks to a similar situation in the finals against Argentina. Then, Karlovic lost a crucial match against Federico Delbonis. Krajan’s other options were the much more inexperienced Viktor Galovic, Nino Serdarušić and Borna Gojo.

Croatia plays in Group B in Spain against Spain and Russia. Three matches will be played in one day, two in the singles competition and one in the doubles. The winners of the groups and the two best runner-up teams advance to the quarterfinals.

Borna Coric, Ivan Dodig, Nikola Mektic, and Mate Pavic will play for Croatia along with Ivo Karlovic.

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

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Croatia Draws Davis Cup 'Group of Death' with Spain and Russia

The Croatia national team, the 2018 Davis Cup champion, will play in the upcoming competition’s ‘Group of Death’ with the host Spain and Russia.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Davis Cup Trophy to be Exhibited in Zagreb For First Time in 13 Years

The Davis Cup trophy will be displayed in Zagreb for the second time! 

Monday, 26 November 2018

Davis Cup Champions: Thousands Welcome Croatia's Tennis Stars in Zagreb

Croatia’s best tennis players were greeted as heroes in Zagreb on Monday after becoming Davis Cup champions. 

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Davis Cup Finals: Marin Čilić Brings Croatia Second Title in History!

Croatia has won their second Davis Cup final in history thanks to an incredible finish by Marin Čilić.

Page 2 of 7