Saturday, 6 June 2020

Croatian Tennis Stars Gather in Osijek for Humanitarian Tournament

June 6, 2020 - Humanitarian tournament Croatian Premier Tennis is taking place in Osijek, featuring many of the best Croatian tennis players, like Marin Cilic, Borna Coric, and Petra Martic. 

Team A and Team B came to victories in the long and exciting first day of the Croatian Premier Tennis competition in Osijek on Thursday, which brought Croatian tennis players back to the courts after a three-month break. Team B celebrated in the first match with 4:1 against team C, with the victories of duos Borna Coric / Ivan Dodig and Iva Majoli / Matej Dodig in two of the three doubles matches and Donna Vekic and Borna Coric in individual matches. Team C took its only set thanks to Iva Primorac and Franko Skugor, who were convincing in mixed doubles against Tena Lukas and Ivan Dodig (6:1).

In the second match, which ended a few minutes after midnight, team A defeated team D 3:2 thanks to the individual victory of Marin Cilic and the duos Lucija Faj / Goran Ivanišević and Ana Konjuh and Nikola Mektic. On the other hand, points for team D were brought by the doubles team Duje Ajduković / Mate Pavic and Tereza Mrdeza in an individual clash with Jana Fett.

Weather conditions did not hinder the second day of the tennis tournament and matches were held without delay. Before the start of the second day, the players and organizers attended a formal reception with the prefect of Osijek-Baranja County Ivan Anusic.

A rare occurrence was the match between Ivo Majoli and Goran Ivanisevic, who played in doubles with young tennis hopes. The team Iva Majoli and Matej Dodig won 4:2 against Goran Ivanisevic and Lucija Faj.

They were followed by the victory of Marin Cilic and Nikola Mektic against Ivan and Matej Dodig, and the result was 6:3. In mixed doubles, Nikola Mektic and Ana Konjuh celebrated against Ivan Dodig and Tena Lukas 7:5.

Donna Vekic and Jana Fett played a true women's duel, in which Donna won 6:4. Marin Cilic and Borna Coric played a great men's match in which Cilic won 7:5. With this victory, Cilic brought an overall triumph to his team (Team A), which was the only one to achieve a 100% performance in the first two appearances.

The second part of the tournament started with a fight between Borna Goja and Duja Ajdukovic, and the result was 4:6 in favor of Borna. Tereza Mrdeza celebrated 6:2 against Lee Boskovic, and Jelena Kostanic-Tosic and Fran Kuna played against Goran Prpic and Nera Tesankic. Jelena and Fran won 5:4.

In the men's doubles, Duje Ajdukovic and Mate Pavic competed against Borna Goja and Franko Skugor, who won 6:3.

The last match of the evening on Friday saw Franko Skugor and Iva Primorac win 6:2 against Fran Pavic and Antonija Ruzic.

The remaining days of the tournament can be followed via the social media pages of Croatian Premier Tennis, and all spectators can support this humanitarian action called 'Croatia and tennis against COVID-19' by calling 060 9003 or donating to IBAN HR0823900011500174664. The goal is to raise funds that will be donated to KBC Osijek, as well as to raise funds that will go to Croatian scientists, who are engaged in finding a vaccine and medicine against COVID-19

Source: HTS

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Thursday, 23 January 2020

Australian Open: Marin Cilic and Donna Vekic Move to 3rd Round

January 23, 2020 - Marin Cilic and Donna Vekic have advanced to the third round of the Australian Open.

Marin Cilic is in the third round of the Australian Open! After five-sets, Cilic found his way to victory against the 21st best player in the world, Frenchman Benoit Paire - 6:2, 6:7(6), 3:6, 6:1, 7:6(10:3).

The match looked promising for Cilic at first as he easily won the first set. However, in the second, Cilic had a 5:2 lead and allowed Paire to get back in the game. The Frenchman returned with a break, and after the tie-break at 3:5, he won the second set. 

Cilic lost the third set thanks to a break in the eighth game, but after that moment, he did not lose his serve for the rest of the match. 

In just 27 minutes, Cilic took the fourth set, while the fifth set went to an extended tie-break in which Marin reached his fifth victory in his sixth meeting with Paire. Marin totaled 17 aces (Paire had 30) with a first-serve percentage of 67%. Marin’s rival in the fight for the round of 16 will be the 9th best tennis player in the world, Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.

Donna Vekic will join Cilic in the third round of the Australian Open for the first time in her career. The Osijek native and 19th-seed of the tournament defeated French player Alize Cornet, the 61st best tennis player in the world - 6:4, 6:2 without any problems.

Donna had a bit more work to do in the first set, where, after a 3:1 lead, she allowed Cornet to return to 3:3. However, immediately in the next game, Vekic broke her opponent, which was enough to win the first set.

In the second set, Donna was up 4:1, which was an unattainable advantage for Cornet. This was their second match and the first victory for Vekic, who will play Iga Świątek in the third round on Saturday. 

Petra Martic is out of the Australian Open after losing to Julia Goerges 4:6, 6:3: 7:5. This was Goerges third victory in their third meeting. Ivo Karlovic is also out after losing to Gael Monfils 6:4, 6:7(8), 4:6, 5:7 in the second round. 

Source: HTS

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Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Australian Open: Donna Vekic and Marin Cilic Join Martic in Second Round

January 21, 2020 - After Petra Martic moved to the second round on Monday and Borna Coric was surprisingly knocked out in the first, three more Croatian representatives took to the courts on Tuesday - Marin Cilic, Donna Vekic and Ivo Karlovic.

Marin Cilic had a convincing performance in the first round of this year's Australian Open, defeating the recent finalist of the ATP tournament in Doha, Frenchman Corentin Moutet (ATP—70) - 6:3, 6:2, 6:4.

Cilic won the first set after a break in the sixth game, and in the second set, he took Moutet’s serve in the first and fifth games. Cilic, however, had a bit more work in the third set, though in the fifth game, a decisive break gave him the victory, in which he recorded nine aces with a first-serve percentage of 62 percent.

His next opponent is the 21st tennis player in the world, Frenchman Benoit Paire. They have played on five occasions so far, and Marin has recorded four wins. 

Donna Vekic will also play in the second round of the Australian Open for the fifth time in her career. Namely, the 23-year-old Osijek native and 19th-seed of the tournament was too strong for former best tennis player in the world, Russian Maria Sharapova (WTA-145) - 6:3, 6:4. 

Donna had no problems in the first set and quickly went to 5:1 to resolve any doubts. However, in the second set, Sharapova played much better, and after a break in the fourth game, later led 4:1. 

Donna then kicked into gear and, with five consecutive games, reached her first success against Sharapova. Sharapova previously celebrated at the 2018 Roland Garros tournament. 

On her way to victory, Donna recorded three aces with a first-serve percentage of 52 percent, and used all four break-points on her opponent’s serve. In the second round, Vekic will play the winner of Cornet - Niculescu.

Ivo Karlovic (ATP-124th), who will turn 41 next month, also advanced to the second round of the first Australian Open, beating Canadian Vasek Pospisil in the first round 7:6 (4), 6:4, 7:5 after two hours and two minutes of play.

Source: HTS

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Friday, 17 January 2020

Ivan Dodig Books First ATP Doubles Final this Season in Adelaide

January 17, 2020 - Croatian tennis player Ivan Dodig and his Slovakian doubles partner Filip Polasek will compete for the title at the ATP tournament in Adelaide.

In the semifinal match, Dodig and Polasek defeated British team Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski after a big fight with a score of 5:7, 6:3, 15:13. The Croatian/Slovakian duo saved three match points and thus opened the season in a significant way, reaching the final already in the first tournament.

This will be Dodig’s 30th career final, and for his 16th title and third title with Polasek, he will battle against Argentine-French duo Maximo Gonzalez and Fabrice Martin.

Franko Skugor failed to reach the doubles final at the ATP tournament in Auckland. Skugor and his American partner Austin Krajicek lost in the semifinal to New Zealander Marcus Danielle and Austrian Philipp Oswald, who celebrated 6:2, 7:6 (5).

Croatian player Darija Jurak is also left without the title at the WTA tournament in Adelaide, after missing two match points with Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski in the final against American player Nichole Melichar and Chinese player Yi-Fan Xu. Jurak and Dabrowski led 6:2, 5:2, at 5:3 had two match points, and at 5:5 two break opportunities, but Melichar and Yi-Fan celebrated 2:6, 7:5, 10:5.

Recall, Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska, the 24th best tennis player in the world, stopped Donna Vekic in the quarterfinal of the WTA tournament in Adelaide after two sets - 6:4, 6:3. Yastremska took away Veekic’s serve three times - she won the first set after a break in the tenth game, and the second in the eighth game. Donna had only one break-point in the third game of the first set. This was their third match and the third victory for the 19-year-old Ukrainian.

The first round of the Australian Open begins on Monday in Melbourne. Marin Cilic will face Corentin Moutet, Borna Coric will face Sam Querrey, Ivo Karlovic will play Vasek Pospisil, Petra Martic will play Christina McHale, and Donna Vekic will play Maria Sharapova.

Source: HTS

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Wednesday, 23 October 2019

WTA Elite Trophy: Donna Vekic Ends Run in Zhuhai, Still Hope for Martic

October 23, 2019 - Croatian tennis player Donna Vekic also suffered a defeat in her second match of the WTA Elite Trophy tournament in Zhuhai, China, and thus finished her 2019 tennis season.

Namely, HRT writes that in the 2nd round of the Azalea group, the 23-year-old Osijek native lost to 19-year-old Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (6), 6- 2 after an hour and 35 minutes of play.

Donna Vekic thus lost with the same result in both of her appearances in Zhuhai. Recall, on Tuesday, she fell 7-6, 6-2 to Dutch player Kiki Bertens, and Vekic ended her performance in the last place of the group.

Against Yastremska, Vekic missed several opportunities in the first set, and at 4-4, she had two chances to break her opponent. Still, the young Ukrainian’s brilliant attack killed the hopes of Vekic. In the tie-break, Vekic reached two consecutive set points at 6-4, but then Yastremska scored four points in a row with her excellent forehand for the comeback. 

Vekic took out her frustration from losing the first set on her racket, though that did not help her continue any better in the duel. The first break of the entire match didn’t come until the fifth game when Yastremska reached a 3-2 lead with a great forehand attack, and after Vekic missed the chance to return to the match in the next game after missing a backhand, it was clear that Yastremska would secure the victory. Vekic did not use any of the three break points she had in the duel. Vekic achieved a first-serve percentage of 68% and only won six games to Yastremska's 13. 

But not all hope is lost for Croatia’s female tennis players - the competition in Zhuhai also features Petra Martic, who will have her first appearance in the Orchid group on Thursday against American Madison Keys. Chinese tennis player Saisai Zheng is also in this group, and in her first match of the group on Tuesday, Zheng outplayed Keys 6-4, 6-2.

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

Monday, 21 October 2019

Petra Martic and Donna Vekic to Play for WTA Elite Trophy in China

October 21, 2019 - This week's WTA Elite Trophy tournament brings together female tennis players ranked 9th to 19th on the WTA ladder, with the addition of one wildcard. This year, two Croatian female tennis players made the cut - Petra Martic and Donna Vekic.

HRT reports that the tournament, which begins on October 22, divides the tennis players into four groups of three players. Croatia’s best female tennis player Petra Martic is in the Orchid group against American Madison Keys and Chinese Saisai Zheng, who came to the tournament as the wildcard. Donna Vekic was drawn into the Azalea group against the first-seed of the tournament, Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, and Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska.

On the first day of the tournament, Vekic will hit the court against Bertens, whom she has played six times and has defeated three times. However, Vekic lost in the last match at the WTA tournament in Beijing just over two weeks ago. Vekic has only encountered Dayana Yastremska once and lost.

Martic's first rival, who she will hit the court against on Wednesday, will be China’s Zheng, the 40th best tennis player in the world. The two have yet to play each other. Martic had met her second rival Keys in only one match before and recorded a win. 

The two remaining groups, Rose and Camellia, feature American Sofia Kenin and Alison Riske and Czech player Karolina Muchova (Camellia), while the Rose group includes Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka, Belgian Elise Mertens and Greek Maria Sakkari.

Only the winners of each group will advance to the semi-final scheduled for Saturday. The tournament prize pool is $2,419,844, and the winner can take home $700,000 and 700 points.

Petra Martic is the fifth-seed of the tournament, while Donna Vekic is the eighth. This year's tournament will be held in the Chinese city of Zhuhai from October 22 to 27, 2019. 

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

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Shanghai Masters: Mate Pavic Books First Doubles Final with Bruno Soares

October 12, 2019 - Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares will play in their first joint final on Sunday! 

Namely, the Croatian-Brazilian duo advanced to the final of the ATP Masters 1000 Series tournament in Shanghai (Shanghai Masters) after defeating British pair Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski - 7:5, 6:4. 

In a match that saw as many as eight breaks, Pavic and Soares (who achieved six aces and a first-serve percentage of 68 percent) took the serve from their opponents on five occasions. In the final, Pavic and Soares await the second-seeded Polish-Brazilian team Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, who are looking to defend their title at the tournament. 

Recall, after six consecutive wins (and the title in Beijing), Ivan Dodig and his Slovakian partner Filip Polasek lost the Shanghai quarter-final match to Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6:4, 7:6 (2). Kubot and Melo thus got revenge on Dodig and Polasek after losing to them in the Beijing final.

In the first set, Dodig and Polasek lost their serve at 3-3. However, they had the chance to take the match into the third set, but after missing two set points at 6-5 and losing the tie-break, the victory went to Kubot and Melo after an hour and 40 minutes of play. 

Recall, after Marin Cilic dropped out of the first round of the Shanghai Masters, Borna Coric, too, failed to make it past the first round. Last year's finalist was stopped by Russian Andrej Rublyov (33rd in the ATP ranking) - 6:4, 7:6 (4).

Donna Vekic failed to reach the quarter-final of the WTA Tournament in Linz, Austria, which boasts a prize fund of €250,000. The Osijek player, who was the fourth seed of the tournament, was defeated by French player Kristina Mladenovic (46th in the WTA ranking) in the second round - 3:6, 6:1, 6:2.

It was their fifth match and the third win for Mladenovic, who tasted revenge against Donna after losing to the Croatian in their two meetings this year - in the 1st round of the Australian Open and the quarter-final of the WTA tournament in Nottingham.

Source: HTS

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Friday, 20 September 2019

St. Petersburg Open: Borna Coric Advances to Semi-final

September 20, 2019 - Not a bad day for Croatian tennis players after Borna Coric and doubles team Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor advance to the semifinal of the St. Petersburg Open in Russia.

HTS reports that Borna Coric is in the semifinal of the ATP tournament in St. Petersburg! Croatia’s best tennis player achieved another turnaround and celebrated in three sets, this time in action against Norwegian player Casper Ruud, 60th on the ATP ranking - 3:6, 7:5, 6:3.

Ruud was up by a set and had a 3-2 lead in the quarter-final, with the serve in the second set, but the Zagreb native once again managed to find a way to victory.

Coric took the second set after he broke his opponent in the 6th and 12th games. The sixth game of the third set was crucial for Coric when he took away Ruud’s serve for the third time in the match. Borna managed seven aces during the match and achieved a first-serve percentage of 60 percent. 

This success has moved Coric up one position on the ATP ranking, making him the current 14th best tennis player in the world. To reach the final, Coric will play against the winner of the match between Kukuskin - Sousa. 

Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor, the first-seed in St. Petersburg this week, also won a spot in the semifinal on Thursday. In the first round, the Croatian duo was better than Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis and Serbian Janko Tipsarevic (6:3, 6:4), and topped American Nicholas Monroe and Belarusian Andrei Vasilevski (who didn’t have a single break point in the match) in the quarterfinal - 6:4, 6:2.

Mektic and Skugor will play Igor Zelenay and Divij Sharan in the semifinal on Saturday. 

Recall, Donna Vekic lost in the round of 16 at the Japan Women's Open on Thursday against Misaki Doi. 

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

Thursday, 5 September 2019

US Open: Donna Vekic and Ivan Dodig Eliminated

September 5, 2019 - Donna Vekic and Ivan Dodig were eliminated from the US Open on Wednesday.

HTS reports that Donna Vekic has ended her run at the US Open this year after losing to the 12th best female player in the world in the quarterfinal, Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, 7:6 (5), 6:3.

In the biggest match of her career, Donna missed a massive opportunity in the first set when, in the ninth game, she had the chance to break her opponent and at 5:4 served to be 1:0 up in sets, though she was unable to capitalize. 

Bencic returned the lost serve and later in the tie-break clinched the first set. In the second set, Vekic held on to a 3:2 lead and then lost four games in a row to end her dream of a Grand Slam semi-final. It was the fourth encounter between Vekic and Bencic, and the Swiss star’s third win. Vekic achieved four aces with a first-serve percentage of 55 percent, scored 28 winners (Bencic 20) but also managed 28 unforced errors (Bencic 21).

Taiwanese player Hao-Ching Chan and New Zealander Michael Venus (1st seed) ended Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig's stellar series at Grand Slam tournaments this year, where they’ve claimed the title of Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the mixed doubles competition. Namely, Chan and Venus eliminated Chan and Dodig in the US Open semi-final in two sets - 7:6 (3), 7:5.

Chan and Dodig started the match well, and reached a break already in the first game, but that was all they managed to do to against their rival. In game 10, Chan and Dodig lost their serve for the first time, and in the tie-break, they lost the first set. In the second set, both pairs held their serve firmly until game 11, though Dodig and Chan couldn't hold on much longer and ultimately lost the match in which they achieved 27 winners and made 26 unforced errors (Chan and Venus 16). 

Unfortunately, Croatia no longer has a representative in the US Open after Vekic and Dodig dropped out of the tournament on Wednesday. Recall, Petra Martic lost to Serena Williams, Marin Cilic to Rafael Nadal, Ivo Karlovic to Frances Tiafoe and Borna Coric pulled out due to an injury. Mate Pavic, Nikola Mektic, and Franko Skugor did not succeed in mixed and men’s doubles. 

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

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

US Open: Vekic into Quarters, Dodig into Mixed Doubles Semi-final

September 3, 2019 - Donna Vekic is into the quarters of the US Open, while Ivan Dodig will play in the semi-final!

HTS reports that Donna Vekic will play in the quarterfinals of the US Open! The best result of her career in a Grand Slam tournament came after the great battle against German Julia Goerges (30th in the WTA ranking) - 6:7 (5), 7:5, 6:3. 

Vekic was on the verge of defeat in the second set, losing 5:3 - and at 5: 4, Goerges (who achieved 21 aces in total) had a match point at her serve. Still, Donna pulled herself out of the abyss and won the second set, and in the third, she made the crucial step in the eighth game when she reached her fourth break of the match. 

Goerges had two returns in the next game (15:40), but Donna managed to keep the serve and reach her first victory in the fourth match against Goerges. 

This success also brings Vekic the best ranking of her career, as she is now 21st in the WTA list. Vekic’s contender for the semi-final is the 12th best tennis player in the world, Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, who surprised Japan's Naomi Osaka (7:5, 6:4) in the round of 16. Vekic and Bencic have played three times so far, and Vekic has one win in their last meeting at this year's Roland Garros.

Marin Cilic said goodbye to this year's US Open after the winner of the 2014 tournament did not find his way to success against Rafael Nadal in the round of 16. The great Spaniard lost the first set of his tournament, but celebrated 6:3, 3:6, 6:1, 6:2 for his 40th appearance in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament. It was their ninth match and the seventh victory for the Spaniard. Cilic achieved 10 aces with a first-serve percentage of 66%, used two of his three break points (Nadal six of 11) and made 40 unforced errors.

Recall, Petra Martic also failed to reach her second quarterfinal at a Grand Slam tournament (Roland Garros 2019) after she was stopped in the round of 16 by the legendary Serena Williams - 6:3, 6:4.

Ivan Dodig and Taiwanese partner Latisha Chan continue their success in the mixed doubles competition. The Roland Garros and Wimbledon winners have now reached the US Open semi-final after defeating American Raquel Atawo and French Fabrice Martin in the quarterfinal - 7:6(3), 3:6, 10:3.

To play in their third consecutive final, Dodig and Chan will face the 1st seed, Taiwanese player Chan Hao-ching and New Zealander Michael Venus. Unfortunately, Mate Pavic and Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski (2nd seed) were stopped in the mixed doubles quarterfinal by US-British duo Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jamie Murray - 2:6, 7:5, 10:4.

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