Friday, 2 August 2019

Washington Open: Marin Čilić Advances to Quarter-final, Are Better Days Ahead?

After two tiebreaks against Romanian player Marius Copil, Marin Čilić easily overcame the young Canadian sensation Felix Auger Aliassime and advanced to the quarter-final of the challenging ATP 500 tournament in Washington D.C. - the Washington Open. 

It is only the third time in this otherwise poor season that Marin Čilić has connected two victories in the same tournament. Thus, the Australian Open and Madrid join the Washington Open, where Čilić has been a semi-finalist in his last two appearances long ago (2015 and 2010), reports 24 Sata on August 2, 2019. 

We can only hope this is an indication of better days for the Croatian tennis star, who delighted his fans by wearing a smile across his face for the first time in a long time.

After two tiebreaks against Marius Copil, Čilić had no problem advancing over the young Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime (6-3, 6-4), who has been a sensation in the tennis world this year. Recall, Auger Aliassime advanced to 21st on the ATP ranking, almost reaching Čilić! He is currently the 22nd best in the world, and according to the ranking, the biggest win of Croatia’s second-best tennis player this year. So far, Čilić also defeated Fernando Verdasco in Melbourne, then the 28th best player in the world.

Furthermore, this only Čilić’s second quarterfinal in 2019. Recall, he had to give up his first in Madrid due to food poisoning.

Čilić and Auger Aliassime met for the first time in the round of 16 on Thursday in Washington, D.C. Čilić already broke his opponent in the first game of the match, though he went on to save three break points from the 18-year-old Canadian.

Auger Aliassime was more dangerous in the second set where he won two break points and saved a game point by Čilić.

However, Čilić was calm and consistent, though he achieved a weak 55 percent on his first serve and also racked up nine aces less than against Copil (4-13). 

If better days are indeed ahead for Čilić will be tested already in the quarter-final against Daniil Medvedev, a player he has yet to meet. The Russian topped Frances Tiafoe (6-2, 7-5) in the round of 16. 

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Tuesday, 30 July 2019

New ATP and WTA Rankings Out: Ćorić and Vekić Move Up!

Croatia's best tennis player Borna Ćorić advanced one place in the latest ATP rankings released on Monday and is now the 14th best tennis player in the world, while Marin Čilić remains in 17th place, reports HRT on July 29,  2019.

Ivo Karlović also registered progress and has climbed to the 80th position, while Viktor Galović dropped 21 places and is now the 221st best tennis player in the world. Nino Serdarušić advanced three spots to the 269th position.

This ATP ranking also showed no changes at the top. The top spot is convincingly held by Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, while Spanish player Rafael Nadal is in second and Swiss player Roger Federer is in third. 

ATP Ranking, July 29, 2019:

1. (1) Novak Djokovic 12.415 

 2. (2) Rafael Nadal 7.945

 3. (3) Roger Federer 7.460

 4. (4) Dominic Thiem 4.595 

 5. (5) Alexander Zverev 4.415

 6. (6) Stefanos Tsitsipas 4.045

 7. (7) Kei Nishikori 4.040

 8. (8) Karen Chatschanow   2.890

 9. (10) Fabio Fognini  2.625 

10. (9) Daniil Medwedew 2.625


14. (15) BORNA ĆORIĆ 2.195    

17.(17) MARIN ČILIĆ 1.940    

 80. (81) IVO KARLOVIĆ 659

 221. (200) VIKTOR GALOVIĆ 211

 269. (272) NINO SERDARUŠIĆ 147

Croatia's best female tennis player Petra Martić remains in the 21st position in the latest WTA rankings released on Monday, while Donna Vekić has advanced one place and is now the 25th best female tennis player in the world.

Teresa Mrdeža has advanced six places, from 210th to 204th, and Jana Fett jumped 26 spots to be the 290th best in the world. Tena Lukas dropped eight places to 371st.

There are no changes among the WTA leaders. At the top is Australian Ashleigh Barty, followed by Japanese player Naomi Osaka, and Czech player Caroline Pliskova in third. 

WTA Ranking, July 29:

1. (1) Ashleigh Barty 6.605

2. (2) Naomi Osaka 6.257

3. (3) Karolina Pliškova 6.055

4. (4) Simona Halep 5.933    

5. (5) Kiki Bertens 5.130

6. (6) Petra Kvitova 4.785

7. (7) Elina Svitolina 4.638

8. (8) Sloane Stephens 3.802

9. (9) Serena Williams 3.411

10.( 10) Aryna Sabalenka 3.365


21.(21)    PETRA MARTIĆ 2.156

25. (26)    DONNA VEKIĆ 1.950    

204. ( 210) TEREZA MRDEŽA 294

290. (316) JANA FETT 176

371. (363) TENA LUKAS 109

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Thursday, 4 July 2019

Wimbledon 2019: Petra Martić into 3rd Round, Čilić and Karlović Out

July 4, 2019 - Petra Martić is Croatia's last remaining hope in the singles competition of Wimbledon. 

Another victory for Petra Martić at Wimbledon! After defeating American Jennifer Brady by coming back from 0:1 in sets, Martić defeated18-year-old Russian Anastasia Potapova (71st on the WTA ranking) with a score of 3:6, 6:3, 6:4 for a spot in the 3rd round.

After losing the first set, Petra lost her service at the start of the second set, and things weren’t looking too promising. However, Petra woke up and started to play, and held her first strike firmly until the end of the match. In the decisive set, Petra broke her opponent already in the first game - and Potapova saw no return. 

On her way to the victory, Martić hit one ace, realized 60 percent of the first serve, and executed four out of nine break points (Potapova only three out of 17). With this win, Petra has reached a new career ranking - and is currently the 19th best female tennis player in the world. In the third round, Petra will play against American Danielle Collins.

After defeating the 7th seed Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas, it was Thomas Fabbiano (89th on the ATP ranking) to advance to the third round of this year's Wimbledon after he defeated Ivo Karlović in a big battle of five sets and more than three hours of play. Fabbiano won 6:3, 6:7 (6), 6:3, 6:7 (4), 6:4.

Fabbiano took Karlović’s serve on three occasions during the match, and Karlović had only one break point in the ninth game of the decisive set - Ivo played an excellent volley, but the Italian came back with a brilliant backhand on the line. Fabbiano won in the next game. In the end, Ivo managed 38 aces and realized 64 percent of his first serve.

Just like last year, Marin Čilić finished his Wimbledon tournament in the 2nd round. Namely, Portuguese player Joao Sousa (69th on the ATP ranking) defeated the 13th seed of the tournament and former finalist in an easy three sets - 6:4, 6:4, 6:4.

To make matters worse, before this game, Marin had not lost a single set in his four encounters against Sousa, though he was utterly helpless on Thursday. 

Namely, Čilić did not use any of the 12 break points in the match and made 46 unforced errors (Sousa only seven). He had nine aces (and realized 51 percent of the first serve) with as many as eight double faults. 

After this loss, it is almost impossible for Marin to keep his existing ranking  (18th) in the months ahead - and if we were to base his ranking on this year alone, he’d be 54th. 

In the doubles competition, Nikola Mektić and Franko Škugor won in the first round,  as did Mate Pavić and Brazilian partner Bruno Soares.

All results are courtesy of HTS.

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

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Wimbledon 2019: Marin Čilić, Ivo Karlović, Petra Martić into 2nd Round

July 3, 2019 - Marin Čilić, Ivo Karlović, and Petra Martić have all advanced to the 2nd round of this year's Wimbledon.

HTS reports that Petra Martić opened this year's Wimbledon with a win! Martić advanced to the 2nd round of the third Grand Slam tournament of the season after her success against American Jennifer Brady, 67th on the WTA ranking, with a score of 3:6, 6:3, 6:4.

After Brady led 1:0 in sets, Petra managed a complete turnaround. 

The second set was settled after she broke Brady in the sixth game, while third in the third set Martić had a decisive advantage in the third game. At 5:4, Martić missed three match points, but had no problem sealing the victory in the next game. In the second round, Martić will play against Russian Anastasia Potapova, 71st on the WTA ranking. 

Ivo Karlovic also had no problem opening Wimbledon with a win. The legendary 40-year-old will compete in the 2nd round of the world's most famous tournament after defeating Italian qualifier Andrea Arnaboldi,  219th on the ATP ranking, 6:4, 6:4, 7:6 (4).

The match was marked by the overwhelming dominance of Karlović who did not allow a single break point. He hit 24 aces with 72 percent of his first serve, and realized two of his four chances to break. In the 2nd round, Karlović must defeat Italian Thomas Fabbiano (89th on the ATP ranking) who surprised the no. 6 player in the world, Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Marin Čilić opened his 13th appearance at Wimbledon with a victory. The former finalist and 13th seed of the tournament overcame Frenchman Adrian Mannarino (42nd on the ATP ranking) with a score of 7:6(6), 7:6(4), 6:3.

However, Čilić could have come to the victory much easier, as he led 5:3 in the second set and missed serving for the set a game later. Mannarino then failed to capitalize on a set point at 6:5 and paid for it later when the tie-break went in favor of Čilić.

The third set winner was decided thanks to a break in the sixth game, leaving Mannarino with no return. This was the fourth encounter and third win for Marin against Mannarino. Čilić will play against Joao Sousa (69th on the ATP ranking) in the 2nd round.

Donna Vekić has unexpectedly finished her performance at this year's Wimbledon. In the 1st round, Vekić lost to American Alison Riske, 55th on the WTA ranking, 3:6, 6:3, 7:5.

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

Friday, 28 June 2019

Wimbledon 2019: Croatian Tennis Stars Learn Opponents

Wimbledon begins on Monday, July 1 and the draw for the singles and doubles competition was held on Friday. Who will our Croatian tennis stars face?

The current best Croatian tennis player Borna Ćorić, who is the 14th seed in the tournament, will play against the best Slovenian tennis player Aljaza Bedene in the first round of the third Grand Slam tournament, the draw decided on Friday.

This will be the fifth encounter of Ćorić, the 14th best tennis player in the world, and Bedene, who is 86th in the ATP ranking. In the past four matches, Ćorić achieved three wins.

If he passes to the second round, Ćorić will play the winner of German Jan-Lenard Struff and Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. Against Struff, the 34th best player in the world, Ćorić has won twice in five meetings. Against Baghdatis, who is currently 138th ATP rankings, Ćorić celebrated in their only encounter. 

Marin Čilić, the 13th seed of Wimbledon, will play in the second round against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who he's played twice and defeated once. If Ćorić wins, he awaits the winner of Portuguese player Joao Sousa and British player Paul Jubb.

Ivo Karlović’s opponent in the first round is Italian Andrea Arnaboldi, the 209th tennis player in the world, who he has not met thus far. If the 40-year-old advances to the second round, he awaits the winner of Greek player Stefan Tsitsipas, the 7th seed of the tournament, and Italian Thomas Fabian.

In the women's competition, Croatia's best female player Donna Vekić will face American Alison Riske, 54th on the WTA ranking. If she advances to the second round, Vekić awaits the winner of Serbian player Ivana Jorović and Dutch player Lesley Kerkhove.

In the first round, the 24th seeded Petra Martić will face American Jennifer Brady, the 64th best tennis player in the world, for the first time. If she advances to the second round, Martić will play the winner of Russian Anastasia Potapova and Swiss player Jil Teichman.

In the first round of the doubles competition, Mate Pavić and Bruno Soares will meet Dutch duo Arends and Middelkoop, Ivan Dodig and partner Polasek will meet British duo Murray and Skupski, and Croatian duo Nikola Mektić and Franko Škugor will meet Lithuanian Berankis and Hungarian Fucsovics.

Wimbledon begins on Monday, July 1, and will play until July 14.

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

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Čilić is Croatia's Top Wimbledon Seed in Singles, Pavić Top in Doubles

On Wednesday, the All England Lawn Tennis Club committee revealed the 32 singles seeds and 16 doubles seeds for Wimbledon, which begins on Monday, July 1. 

Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić is the 13th seed in this year's edition of Wimbledon, while the current best Croatian tennis player, Borna Ćorić, is 14th. The first seed of the tournament is also the best tennis player in the world, Novak Đoković, who will try to defend the title this year, reports on June 26, 2019.

Roger Federer is the second seed of this year's Grand Slam tournament, while the second-best tennis player in the world, Rafael Nadal, is confirmed as the third seed.

South African Kevin Anderson, who played in the final with Djokovic last year, is the fourth seed, even though he fell to the eighth place on the ATP ranking this week.

In the women's competition, the top seed is Australia's Ashleigh Barty, who is also the current best female tennis player in the world. From the Croatian female tennis players, Donna Vekić is the 22nd seed, and Petra Martić the 24th.

For the doubles seeds, Mate Pavić holds the top seed for Croatia in 4th with partner Bruno Soares, while Nikola Mektić and Franko Škugor are the 6th seed. 

As the third seed, two-time Wimbledon winner Rafa Nadal will have to pass both the Federer and Djokovic if he wants to win his first title at the All England Club since 2010.

The Spaniard has criticized the Wimbledon seeding system this week, saying it is "not good" to be the only one of four Grand Slam tournaments that do not follow the ATP rankings when determining the seeds.

Wimbledon, according to the form of the tennis player in the last 24 months, determines 32 players in the draw for the top tennis players in the tournament. 

And while the seeds are determined according to the place on the WTA rankings, Wimbledon retained the right to change it in the men’s competition to create a "balanced draw".

Thus, Čilić, who played the final of Wimbledon in 2017, is 13th, even though he fell to the 18th place on the ATP ranking this week, and Croatia’s best tennis player, Borna Ćorić, is the 14th.

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

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Roland Garros: Martić and Vekić into Third Round, Čilić Out

May 29, 2019 - Petra Martić, Donna Vekić, and Marin Čilić played in the second round of Roland Garros in Paris on Wednesday, announces HTS

Petra Martić continues with great performances at this year's Roland Garros. After quickly overcoming Tunisian player Jabeur (in just 66 minutes), Martić defeated French national Kristina Mladenovic (WTA-53) in two games - 6:2, 6:1.

Two breaks in the first and three in the second set were enough for Petra to convincingly win over Mladneovic, who took Martić’s service for the first time in the first game of the second set, and then lost six consecutive games. Martić, who hit three aces with 70 percent of the first service, made only nine unforced errors during the match and lost only 13 points to her service. Petra’s next rival will be the second-best tennis player in the world, Czech national Karolina Plíšková. So far they've played on four occasions, and Petra has three wins. 

Donna Vekić also moves forward in Roland Garros. The Osijek native advanced to the round of 32 of the Paris tournament on Wednesday for the second time in her career after defeating Swedish player Rebecca Peterson (WTA-63) - 1:6, 6: 1, 6:2.

The first set convincingly went to Peterson, but we saw the dominance of Vekić who won 10 of the next 11 games, and was up to a 4:0 lead in the decisive set. Peterson managed to reduce Vekić’s advantage to 4:2, but that was all she was able to do in this duel. With this win, Donna moves to the 21st position on the WTA list, which is her new career ranking. Her chance to enter the company of the 20 best tennis players in the world will be in the 3rd round against the winner of the Bencic - Siegemund match.

Marin Čilić goes home early from this year's appearance at Roland Garros. Croatia’s best male tennis player lost in the second round after a giant five-set game (and almost four and a half hours of play). Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (ATP-46) won 6:7 (3), 6:4, 4:6, 7:6 (2), 6:3.

Marin played a good match and fought to the last point, but Dimitrov eventually found the path to success. Dimitrov was behind 2:1, but managed to get back and take the next two sets. In the final set, Marin lost his service twice and allowed his opponent to lead 5:2. Dimitrov then served to win, Čilić managed to break, but then lost his first strike and then the match. Čilić had 13 aces, with 53 percent of his first service and 58 unforced errors (Dimitrov had 45). It was their sixth meeting and the second win of the Bulgarian tennis player.

Borna Ćorić will face Lloyd Harris, while Ivo Karlović will face Jordan Thompson on Thursday in the second round.

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

Monday, 27 May 2019

Roland Garros: Čilić, Ćorić, Martić, Vekić Advance to 2nd Round

May 27, 2019 - Roland Garros, also known as the French Open, kicked off at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris. Croatia’s tennis representatives, including Marin Čilić, Borna Ćorić, Petra Martić, and Donna Vekić have all advanced to the second round. 

Marin Čilić skipped the first obstacle at this year's Roland Garros. Croatia’s best male tennis player and the 11th-seed of the tournament defeated Italian Thomas Fabbiano, the 98th best tennis player in the world, in three sets - 6:3, 7:5, 6:1.

Marin played a solid match and had the most issues at the end of the second set when he lost his service at 4:4 and Fabbiano served to equalize 1:1. However, Čilić immediately returned the lost service, and by the end of the duel, won nine of the 10 games. In the third set, the Italian led 1:0 after a break and then lost six games in a row. Čilic achieved 13 aces and realized 58 percent of the first service, and made 36 unforced errors (Fabbiano 34). Čilić will play Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the round of 64. 

In just over an hour, Petra Martić advanced to the second round of this year's Roland Garros after defeating Tunisian Ons Jabeur (WTA-56)  6:1, 6: 2.

Petra took the service of her rival six times and lost two games on two occasions. Jabeur made 27 unforced errors (Martić 8). Martić also realized 65 percent of the first service and easily made it to the 2nd round where she will face French player Kristina Mladenović. 

Donna Vekić, the 23rd-seed of the tournament, made it to the 2nd round of this year's Roland Garros. Croatia’s best female tennis player was too strong for the 'lucky loser' of qualifications, Russian Liudmila Samsonova(WTA-159) - 6:2, 6:4.

The Osijek-native settled the first set after breaks in the third and fifth games, while in the second set she only took Samsonova’s service in the third game. Samson had just one break-point (the fourth game of the first set) that she did not take advantage of during the match. Vekić finished the game without a double fault and with 59% of the first service and 17 unforced errors (Samsonova 35). Donna will play in the 2nd round against Swede Rebecca Peterson (WTA-63). 

Borna Ćorić will play in the 2nd round of Roland Garros for the fifth time. After almost three hours, the 22-year-old Zagreb-native defeated Slovenian Aljaž Bedene who took the duel to the fourth set - 6:1, 6:7(4), 6:4, 6:4.

During the match, Bedene lost his service to Borna on five occasions; Borna did not succeed only in the second set, which went to a tie-break in favor of Bedene. On the other hand, he saved all three of Bedene's breaks. In the round of 64,  Ćorić will play against South African Lloyd Harris. 

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Thursday, 16 May 2019

Italian Open: Borna Ćorić and Mate Pavić into Last 16, Čilić Out

May 16, 2019 - Croatian tennis player Borna Ćorić placed into the 3rd round of the ATP tournament in Rome after mastering British player Cameron Norrie on Tuesday with a score of 6-2, 6-2 in just 58 minutes of play, reports the Croatian Tennis Federation.

It was a match where Ćorić was ferocious against his opponent, who really didn't stand a chance. Norrie did not manage a chance to break even once, and Ćorić realized his break on all occasions. Looking at the duo head-to-head, Norrie and Ćorić each have one victory. Recall, Norrie celebrated in Shenzhen. 

In the next round, Ćorić will play Roger Federer who was better than Portuguese player Joao Sousa. The two will meet on Thursday.

Mate Pavić and doubles partner Oliver Marach will also play in the round of 16 after defeating Jan-Lennard Struff and Ben McLachlan 6-3, 6-3. Pavić and Marach won three breaks in the duel,  while Struff and McLachlan had none. In the round of 16 game on Thursday, Pavić and Marach will face Fernando Verdasco and Denis Shapovalov.

Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić failed to qualify for the third round of the Italian Open, after German tennis player Jan-Lennard Struff was better than Ćilić with a score of  6-2, 6-3 in just an hour and seven minutes of play. 

Čilić struggled in the match against Struff, losing his first strike four times and totaling only four service games won, of which not one was when Struff had the first serve. The only break for Čilić was when Struff served for the win, but he only delayed his fate until the next game.

Čilić achieved only 45 percent on his second serve and only 62 percent on his first. 

This was the fourth match between Čilić and Struff and the second win for the German player. The two also meet last week in Madrid in 2nd round where Čilić won 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

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Friday, 10 May 2019

Madrid Open: Food Poisoning Forces Marin Čilić to Retire Against Djokovic

An unlucky Marin Čilić was forced to withdraw from the quarterfinal of the Masters 1000 Series tournament in Madrid. Namely, Čilić was meant to face Novak Djokovic on Friday afternoon, though a bad bout of food poisoning had different plans and gave Čilić no other choice, reports T.portal on May 10, 2019. 

Čilić addressed his fans in an Instagram post on Friday morning:

“To the fans, @mutuamadridopen organizers, spectators and @djokernole I am sorry to announce that I must withdraw from today's match. I have had a terrible night dealing with a case of food poisoning. I am extremely disappointed to have my time in Madrid end in this way. Thank you for the support and I look forward to returning next year…”

Čilić was set to play Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinal in Madrid. Djokovic is currently the best player in the world and has beaten Čilić 17 of the 19 times the two have been matched against one another. However, Čilić’s sweet victory against Djokovic at the Queen’s Club in London last year was the game of his career. The Croatian tennis player was hoping for the same result against Djokovic again. 

Unfortunately, there will be nothing of Marin at this year's Madrid Open. At this Masters 1000 Series tournament, however, Čilić managed to end his negative line of defeats and won against Martin Kližan, Jan-Lennard Struff, and Laslo Đere.

If he recovers in time, the next challenge for Čilić will be the tournament in Rome next week. And let’s not forget, the highly anticipated Ronald Garros begins on May 26.

Recall, Petra Martić failed to defeat the eighth best tennis player in the world, American Sloane Stephens. Stephens celebrated in the quarterfinal match in two sets - 6:4, 6:3.

Mate Pavić and doubles partner Oliver Marach also failed to win their quarterfinal match, losing to Diego Schwartzman and Dominic Thiem. 

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