Friday, 4 September 2020

US Open: Donna Vekic and Marin Cilic Advance to Third Round!

September 4, 2020 - Donna Vekic and Marin Cilic join Petra Martic and Borna Coric in the third round of the US Open!

It was an extremely convincing performance by Donna Vekic in the 2nd round of the US Open, as it took the Osijek player only 69 minutes to win against Romanian Patricia Maria Tig (88th on the WTA list) with only three lost games - 6:2, 6:1.

The very beginning of the match suggested that Donna would have a far harder job, as Tig came to a break in the third game and took the lead with 2:1. But after that, her game quickly fell apart, and Donna lost only one more game by the end of the match.

During the match, Vekic scored four aces with a first-serve percentage of 66 percent, and used five of the nine break points. Her next opponent will be Bulgarian Cvetana Pironkova (a player with a protected ranking), who surprised the 10th seed, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, in the 2nd round.

It took Marin Cilic more than three hours to advance to the third round of this year's US Open. Namely, Slovak Norbert Gombos (104th on the ATP list) proved himself in the 2nd round match as an extremely strong and challenging opponent who almost took the match to the fifth set.

Namely, at 1:2 in sets, Gombos had a 5:4 lead and two set points on Marin's serve, but he failed to realize them. After that, Cilic came to a break, and then to the victory - 6:3, 1:6, 7:6 (2), 7:5. It seems that the key to the outcome of the match was the third set in which Gombos led with 4:2, but Marin still managed to return and reach a 2:1 lead in the tie-break.

He scored 15 aces with a first-serve percentage of 63 percent and used four of the 12 break points. Marin now awaits the 2nd seed and 3rd best tennis player in the world, Austrian Dominic Thiem. They have played twice so far, and Thiem has celebrated in both matches.

Petra Martic will play her third-round match against Russian Varvara Andreyevna Gracheva on Friday, while Borna Coric will face Stefanos Tsitsipas. 

Source: HTS

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Thursday, 3 September 2020

US Open: Petra Martic and Borna Coric Move to Third Round

September 3, 2020 - Petra Martic and Borna Coric are the first Croatian representatives to advance to the US Open's third round. Donna Vekic and Marin Cilic will play in the second round today.

Petra Martic was the first of the Croatian representatives to advance to the 3rd round of the US Open, after defeating Ukrainian Katerina Bondarenko (349th on the WTA list) in the 2nd round on Wednesday without any major problems. Martic celebrated 6:3, 6:4.

Petra was especially dominant at the beginning of the first set, where she quickly took a 5:1 lead. Bondarenko reduced it to 5:3, but couldn't do more than that.

The second set was far more uncertain and was decided after a break in the 10th game. Martic scored eight aces with a first-serve percentage of 64 percent and used only four of 16 break points.

To advance to the round of 16, she will play against Russian Varvara Gracheva, the 102nd-best player on the WTA list. They played recently in the 1st round of the WTA tournament in Prague, where Petra was better in two sets.

Borna Coric also advanced to the third round of the US Open and thus surpassed last year's result when he was forced to hand over the match to Grigor Dimitrov due to injury in the second round.

After a smooth victory in three sets against Pablo Andujar, Coric faced Juan Ignacio Londero. The match started with an early exchange of breaks, and the next came at 5:5 when Borna took the Argentine's serve and soon took the set with 7:5.

In the second set, Londero was the one who had the initiative, but at the end of the set, Borna returned and reduced the score to 5:4. Instead of directing the set towards a tie-break, he lost the next service game and automatically the set with 6:4.

In the third set, Borna missed too much. He started great and took a 4-1 lead, and instead of routinely doing the job and taking a 2-1 lead in sets, he allowed Londero to come back, and the Argentine took the set in a tie-break.

Coric was much more concentrated in the next two sets. In the fourth, he broke Londero twice and took the set with 6:2, and in the fifth, he broke in the fourth game, which was enough to advance to the next round. 

Coric will have a much harder job in the third round when he faces Stefanos Tsitsipas. 

Croatia's second female representative Donna Vekic passed the first round of the US Open. The Osijek native and 18th seed defeated Czech Kristyna Plišková (66th on the WTA list) - 3:6, 7:6 (6), 6:4.

Pliškova was close to victory; after winning the first set, in the second, she took the 5:3 lead, and at 5:4, she served for the match. Donna still managed to celebrate in the tie-break of the second set.

In the third set, she managed to find a way to succeed after a break in the ninth game. During the match, she scored six aces (Pliškova 16) with a first-serve percentage of 57 percent and used three of the eight break points. In the second round, she will play against Romanian Patricia Maria Tig, the world's 88th-best tennis player.

It took three hours and 33 minutes for Marin Cilic (ATP - 38th) to beat American Denis Kudla (ATP - 111th), which he reached after his opponent led 2-0 in sets and had a 5:3 lead in the third set. Cilic celebrated 6:7 (3), 3:6, 7:5, 7:5, 6:3. It was the eighth turnaround of this sort in Cilic's career, half of which occurred at the US Open, where he is playing for the 12th time.

Marin Cilic will play Slovak tennis player Norbert Gombos (104th on ATP list) in the second round on Thursday. 

Ivo Karlovic finished his performance at his 17th US Open. The 41-year-old from Zagreb was stopped in the first round by the Frenchman Richard Gasquet (51st on the ATP list) - 7: 6 (0), 7: 6 (4), 6:1.

Ivo missed his opportunity to do something more in this match in the second set in which he reached his only break in the duel, and later a 5:3 advantage. Still, Gasquet returned in the 10th game, and the story once again went to a tie-break in which the Frenchman took the 2-0 lead.

Ivo gave up in the third set. After the initial 1:1, the Frenchman went to victory with a large series. Ivo achieved 20 aces during the match with a first-serve percentage of 57 percent, and used one of six break points.

Of the three Croatian representatives in doubles who played in the 1st round of the US Open on Wednesday, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic made their way further.

Mektic and Dutchman Wesley Koolhof (8th seed) celebrated at the start against Serbian Nikola Cacic and Indian Divi Sharan (6:4, 3:6, 6:3), while Pavic and Brazilian Bruno Soares (5th seed) topped Spaniard Marcel Granollers and Argentine Horace Zeballos - 3:6, 6:4, 6:4.

Franko Skugor and American Austin Krajicek lost to 3rd seed, American Rajeev Rama and Briton Joe Salisbury (6:2, 6:7 (5), 6:3).

Source: HTS

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Sunday, 30 August 2020

Croatian Tennis Players Ready for US Open in New York

August 30, 2020 - Croatian tennis players have learned their opponents in the first round of the US Open, to be held from Monday, August 31, 2020, in New York.

The best-ranked Croatian tennis player Borna Coric will play Spaniard Pablo Andujar in the first round of the US Open. Marin Cilic will play against the American Denis Kudla, and Ivo Karlovic will face the Frenchman Richard Gasquet, while the two female Croatian representatives will face two Czech opponents - Petra Martic against Tereza Martincova, and Donna Vekic against Kristyna Plišková.

The US Open begins Monday, August 31, 2020, at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York and will end September 13.

For the first time since 2003, there were no title defenders in the draw, as Canadian Bianca Andreescu and Spaniard Rafael Nadal will not participate in this year’s tournament. 

The first seed is the best tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic, who will play in the first round against the Bosnian-Herzegovinian representative Damir Dzumhur. The second seed, Austrian Dominic Thiem, will play against Spaniard Jaume Munar.

In the women's competition, only four of the top ten tennis players were in the draw, and the first-seed is third in the WTA rankings, Karolina Pliškova from the Czech Republic. Her rival is Ukrainian Angelina Kalinin. The second-seed is the current winner of the Australian Open, American Sofia Kenin, who will play against Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer in the first round.

Returning to the court, Belgium's Kim Clijsters will play against Russia's 21st-seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, and Serena Williams, who will try to win her 24th individual Grand Slam title, has won compatriot Kristie Ahn as her rival.

Coric (ATP - 33rd) has never played against 34-year-old Andujar (ATP - 53rd), and the winner of the 2014 US Open Marin Cilic (ATP - 37th) beat 28-year-old Kudl (ATP - 111th) in four sets (6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5) five years ago in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.

The oldest player in the tournament, 41-year-old Ivo Karlovic (ATP - 125th), will compete in his 16th appearance at the US Open for the seventh time in his career against seven-year-younger Gasquet (ATP - 50th), who defeated him five times. But Karlovic's only victory came at the US Open nine years ago, when Ivo celebrated in four sets (6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 7-6).

Coric was the 27th-seed in the upper part of the draw, while Cilic (31st) and the unplaced Karlovic were in the lower half.

Petra Martic (WTA - 14th) was placed eighth, and 25-year-old Tereza Martincova (WTA - 135th) was defeated (6-4, 7-5) in their only match played in 2015 in Bad Gastein, Austria.

Donna Vekic (WTA - 24th) will enter the duel against 28-year-old Kristyna Plišková (WTA - 64th) with a 2-1 advantage in mutual duels, and as the 18th-seed of this year's US Open, where she will defend her best result at the Grand Slam tournaments - last year's quarterfinals, when Swiss Belinda Benčić stopped her.

Martic was in the upper half and Vekic in the lower half of the draw.

Source: HRT

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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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Sunday, 21 June 2020

Adria Tour Final in Zadar Canceled After Dimitrov Tests Positive for Coronavirus

June 21, 2020 - The final of the Adria Tour in Zadar, in which Novak Djokovic and Andrey Rublev were supposed to play at 8 pm tonight, has been canceled! Unfortunately, Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, who played one match in the Zadar tournament, has tested positive for the coronavirus. reports that in the last ten days, Dimitrov played in two tournaments with spectators and played football and basketball with Djokovic, Cilic, and Coric. He also spent night outs with other tennis players on the Adria Tour.

At the start of the tournament in Zadar, Croatian tennis player Borna Coric easily defeated Dimitrov, who did not shake hands with the opponent and the referee at the end of the match because he was already feeling ill.

"Hi Everyone-I want to reach out and let my fans and friends know that I tested positive back in Monaco for Covid-19. I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during these past days gets tested and takes the necessary precautions. I am so sorry for any harm I might have caused. I am back home now and recovering. Thanks for your support and please stay safe and healthy. GD," the tennis player wrote on his Instagram page. 

Dimitrov is the 19th ranked tennis player in the world, though he was once the third-best in the world. The 29-year-old Bulgarian was nicknamed 'Baby Federer' at an early stage of his career as he had a similar style of play, but he never lived up to those expectations even though he has had a successful career so far. At the tournament in Zadar, he was replaced by Croatian tennis player Nino Serdarusic, a 23-year-old who is the 299th best player in the world.

It is not yet known how the Bulgarian tennis player's illness will affect the tennis season, which should continue with tournaments in America in two months. The organizers of the tournament in Zadar will soon address the public.

"We received information that Grigor was tested in Monaco and that he was positive for the coronavirus. We tried to respect all the measures prescribed by the Serbian and Croatian governments, we gave everything we needed, unfortunately, Grigor is positive. At the moment, we are organizing all health services so that as many people as possible who were in contact with Grigor ar tested. I got in touch with all the volunteers and participants of the tournament and so far no one has any symptoms," said Djorđe Djoković from the organization of the tournament at an extraordinary press conference and added:

"Dimitrov was in Bulgaria before this, we still don't know if he got it there or here. Everyone who was in close contact will be tested. We are waiting for the authorities to give us instructions and we will continue to act accordingly," concluded Novak Djoković's brother.

"This was the only right decision, we had to cancel the final for the health of the players, their families, but also everyone else present. Of course, we will do the tests, I did it three days ago and I was negative myself. I don't know if I will have to be tested again, I will go if necessary," said the tournament director Goran Ivanisevic and added:

"All of this is one big shock, but we made the right decision. Health comes first. As for Grigor, he showed no symptoms. He didn't even have a temperature. Still, he felt bad on Saturday and decided to get tested in Monte Carlo. We don't know where he was infected. In any case, we wish him a speedy recovery."

All tennis players who participated in the tournament, as well as the people who participated in the organization will be tested for COVID-19.

Adria Tour director Đorđe Đoković did not confirm whether the tournament in Banja Luka and the exhibition in Sarajevo would be canceled, but said that he would act in accordance with the recommendations of the competent authorities.

More soon...

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Thursday, 18 June 2020

Novak Djokovic Enjoying Zadar Ahead of Adria Tour

June 17, 2020 - The No. 1 tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic, arrived in Zadar on Tuesday ahead of the Adria Tour humanitarian tournament. 

"I have been all over Croatia, but I have never been to Zadar, and I am looking forward to meeting Zadar and the people here and all the participants of the Adria Tour. I am very excited and happy to have the opportunity to visit Zadar as part of the Adria Tour, and then a few more locations in the region," Djokovic said upon his arrival, revealing that he did not know that Zadar was Luka Modric's hometown.

It didn't take long for Djokovic to dip into the local mindset, as he was filmed at training at a Zadar beach. 

"Mother Nature's Gym," he shared on Facebook with a short video. The post even prompted a reaction from American football legend Tom Brady - "The best!"

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that the final preparations are underway for the Adria Tour. The main court, which boasts room for nine thousand spectators, will be filled to half capacity to meet COVID-19 measures.

Tournament participants include world no. 1 Novak Djokovic, German star Alexander Zverev, and Gregori Dimitrov from Bulgaria, as well as Croatian Davis Cup national team members Marin Cilic and Borna Coric.

It has been known for a long time that Dominic Thiem, Austria's best tennis player, will not come to Visnjik, so there are three vacancies left. One spot should be filled by Felix Auger Aliasiemm, and the seventh participant will be obtained after the final of the HEP tournament. 

Yesterday, Novak trained with Borna Coric at the tennis courts of TK Zadar 08 in the bay Drosanjica, which was followed by a line of eager fans waiting for an autograph. It was also on these courts that Borna took his first tennis steps, as his grandmother lives nearby.

After training, the great Nole signed the club's bulletin board and thus left his historical mark on a humble Zadar tennis court.

Although he did not appear on the central ground of the Visnjik Sports Center, Zverev did his training at the Falkensteiner & Spa Hotel Iadera in Petrcane. Just after noon on Tuesday, Zverev stayed with the Djokovic family on the luxury yacht Asha, and sailed together to the Kornati National Park on Wednesday morning.

Goran Ivanisevic, tournament director for Adria Tour Croatia, aired his thoughts on the Adria Tour in Serbia, emphasizing that it was a tennis mega-spectacle and that he is convinced that things will be even better in Zadar.

"It is a real shame to miss the matches that await us in Zadar," said Ivanisevic, obviously satisfied with the fact that apart from Djokovic, a tennis player who conquered the world not only with his game but also with his sportsmanship and humanitarian efforts, the audience will admire the moves of other tennis stars. 

Only one question remains: "Are there any tickets left?"

The world is buzzing about the Adria Tour, as is evidenced by the fact that the scenes from Zadar will be broadcast to 110 countries on all continents.

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Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Novak Djokovic: Zadar Will Be Sports Center of World During Adria Tour

Jun 16, 2020 - At the end of this week, Zadar will be the sports center of the world, assures Novak Djokovic ahead of the Adria Tour tennis spectacle at SC Visnjik.

Jutarnji List reports that after Belgrade, Djokovic's Adria Tour will be held in Zadar from June 19 to 21, as part of which tennis stars such as Dominik Thiem, Aleksandar Zverev, and Grigor Dimitrov will come to Croatia. They will be joined by Croatian aces Marin Cilic and Borna Coric and many other tennis players and friends united by a humanitarian goal.

Since the coronavirus epidemic has calmed in the Balkans, today's best tennis player is spending his time on tennis courts, but also in meetings, because as the organizer of a tennis tournament, which is held in several countries, his hands are full.

"When the epidemic started, I was in daily contact with the players as well as with friends from the tennis federation. As time went on, the idea of organizing tournaments throughout the region began to crystallize, to allow tennis to live on after all. We followed the situation and realized that it was possible. And so it all began. With a lot of work, a lot of organization, and details, we set off.

At the end of the week, we started with the tournament in Belgrade and this week, we are in Zadar, later in Banja Luka and Sarajevo. As I am telling you this, I’m waiting to go out on the court and I’m so excited and happy that I can’t even describe it to you. It is unreal for me that at this time of year, in my city, in the whole region, I have the opportunity to play tennis with tennis players from the very top of the world, with my friends. This is a unique experience," said Djokovic in an exclusive interview for Jutarnji List just a few days before the spectacle in Zadar, in the newly opened regional center of the Croatian Tennis Federation.

"The tennis players who will be performing are all my friends, guys I get along great with, on and off the court. They were the only ones who could come, because it is not easy to get to Serbia or Zadar at this moment. In addition, both Dominik, Alexander and Georgi accepted the fact that this is a charity tournament, and this probably further prompted them to participate. Borna, Marin, Damir Džumhur - I agreed with them the fastest, because we have already been in our homes and cities, and of course, we understand this opportunity differently so that the whole world looks at our region across those days. That is a significant thing," Djokovic explains. Namely, as many as 110 countries will broadcast the Adria Tour tournament.

Nole, as his relatives and fans in his native Serbia call him, is of Montenegrin origin on his father Srdjana's side, and his mother, Dijana, is a Croat from Vinkovci. However, the tennis star had never been to Zadar, although he often spends his summers on the Adriatic.

"I really like the Adriatic, and I love the Croatian coast, generally the smell of the sea, pine forests. It has remained in my memory since I was little. We haven’t made a plan yet where we’re going this summer, as we don’t know anything. First of all, I am looking forward to coming and being in Zadar for the first time. I am grateful to all the tennis players who responded, to the Croatian Tennis Federation, to everyone in the organization, to the musicians who responded to the media, and I can't wait to go out on the court. This tournament will send a wonderful, strong and positive message to the whole world because Zadar will be the sports center of the world over those days," Djokovic emphasizes.

Namely, the first evening will be opened with a musical performance by Zlatan Stipisic Gibonni, on Saturday Petar Graso announced a dance spectacle, and on Sunday, a surprise guest awaits the visitors of the tournament.

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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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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

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Friday, 24 January 2020

Australian Open: Marin Cilic Tops World No. 9 for Round of 16!

January 24, 2020 - Marin Cilic has advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open after a dramatic victory over Roberto Bautista-Agut 6:7, 6:4, 6:0, 5:7 6:3.

After a 3-hour-and 37-minute match in the last round against Frenchman Benoit Paire, in which he secured the victory in the decisive tie-break of the fifth set, Marin has now played for four hours and 13 minutes against Bautista-Agut.

The first set was equal, although both players had one chance to break. However, Bautista-Agut was better in the thirteenth game, as he made the first mini-break at 2:2 and ultimately took the first set.

Cilic evened the score in the second set by taking Bautista-Agut’s serve at 6:4. It was evident then that the level of his game was rising - and then he exploded completely.

Marin played perhaps the best set we’d seen him play in ages; a set that reminded us of the Marin Cilic that won the 2014 US Open. Bautista-Agut was helpless in the third set when Cilic swept him 6:0.

Cilic’s momentum fell slightly in the fourth set. While he led 3:1, Bautista-Agut returned for 3:2. The key break was made at the 6:5 lead. The game then went into the fifth set, which was quite even, despite the Spaniard losing his serve again at the start.

Cilic had a psychological test in the lead at 4:3, and it seemed that Bautista-Agut could return to the match as he reached 0:30, but with great serves and winners, Cilic responded to the challenge and came to 5:3. In the next game, he finished the match on Bautista-Agut’s serve. Cilic failed to use the first match point, but ultimately celebrated the marathon victory with a roar.

In the round of 16, Cilic will play against the winner of the match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Milos Raonic.

Donna Vekic will play in the round of 16 on Saturday against Iga Świątek.


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