Thursday, 29 July 2021

Gold Medal Match Between Croatian Players for the First Time Ever!

July 29, 2021 - Historic! An unthinkable and spectacular event has happened today not only in Croatian sports history but also in the Olympic Games. Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić have won today and there will be a Gold Medal Match between Croatian players in Tokyo 2020!

The morning got off to a great start for Croatia at the Olympics, after the couple Marin Cilić and Ivan Dodig beat their New Zealand rivals in the semi-final, thus securing at least one medal for their country. But in recent days, everyone was closely following the fact that two pairs of Croatian tennis players reached the semifinals, as the brand-new champions of the doubles category at Wimbledon, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić, had also managed to reach those instances.

With the four Croatian tennis players in the semifinals, a bronze medal was already confirmed for the Croatian delegation. But with today's victory for Cilić and Dodig (6-2, 6-2) over their New Zealand counterparts Daniell and Venus, Croatia had already secured at least one silver medal. Even before it happened, everyone was wondering, "What if there was a final between Croats?".

And that's how it went from imagination to reality. Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić defeated their American rivals Krajicek and Sandgren (6-4, 6-4), and Croatia thus secured a gold and silver medal in tennis in the doubles category, in what will be an unprecedented and exciting Croatian Gold Medal match in a tennis final.

To reach the grand final, Mektić and Pavić had to beat Brazilians Demoliner and Merlo in a close match (7-6, 6-4) in the first round. They then beat the Italians Musetti and Sonego in the second round, also in a difficult match (7-5, 6-7, 10-7). This earned them qualification for the quarterfinals, where they beat the locals McLachlan and Nishikori (6-3, 6-3). At this point, the dream of the Olympic medal was already approaching, with the Croatian tennis players in the semifinals. Today they beat Americans Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren 6-4 in both sets, in a match that lasted 1 hour and 21 minutes.

Mektić and Pavić, the best tennis pair of today, have 51 victories and only five defeats this year. They both arrived in Tokyo as the recent champions of the Wimbledon doubles tournament this month.

Croatian sport reaches a historic moment with the first tennis doubles final between Croatian players, something that, although it is not the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, happened only in 1904 between American players and for the last time four years later, in 1908 between British players. So it has been 113 years since this incredible gold medal match feat was not attested.

The game is scheduled for tomorrow, and although the exact time is not yet confirmed, it is believed that it will be played around 8, after the bronze match between New Zealanders and Americans.

It is true that, although four Croatian tennis players will compete for first place, only two of them will be able to win the long-awaited gold medal. However, it can be said from now on that, regardless of the result, it is a historic moment and a great joy for Croatian tennis and sport in general. Congratulations to Mate Pavić, Marin Cilić, Nikola Mektić, and Ivan Dodig for the success!

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Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić into Olympic Doubles Semifinals, Confirm Medal for Croatia!

July 28, 2021 - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić thus join Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig in the Olympic doubles semifinals!

Croatia's Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić won a spot in the semifinals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo with a victory against Japan's Nishikori and McLachlan 6:3, 6:3.

"It feels good, we played a really good match. Honestly, I expected it to be harder. Nishikori is a great player in singles and McLachlan great in doubles. It was a lot harder for us the day before yesterday against the Italians. Today we served well and saved some key break points that broke the match. We are overjoyed and look forward to the semi-finals," Pavić began in a statement after the match.

Their next opponents are team USA's Tennys Sandgren and Austin Krajicek, who beat Germany's Struff and Zverev 6:3, 7:6 in the quarterfinals.

"I have already lost to the Americans. It will be difficult, it is the semifinals, so we can't expect anything else," Mektić commented briefly.

Pavić is pleased that they have become accustomed to the conditions in Tokyo.

"It's playing more and more, the ball is more on the court, it's not all over with service and returns. We've gotten used to the conditions and I hope we continue to play like this."

"There is no fatigue, the stakes are too high to think about fatigue," Mektić added.

Along with Pavić and Mektić, Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig also reached the semifinals. 

"The Croatian public and journalists write everything, it could be read that the way to gold is open for us, that in principle no one plays at the Olympics except us, which is a total absurdity. We can see it in the results and difficult matches between us and Čilić and Dodig; I don't know if people are aware of what this result is for us and for them. We were the only ones to have two representatives in the quarterfinals and now in the semifinals. It's fascinating. We all want a Croatian final and that would be a wonderful story, but we have another difficult match," said Pavić, and Mektić agreed:

"We are not modest, but realistic. Doubles are a game where several balls decide. The scoring system is very open and equalizes things. As phenomenal as our form and results are, we have won a lot of matches on just one or two balls. We are aware that we have to play our best tennis to win."

Croatia has thus confirmed at least one medal in tennis doubles!

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Monday, 26 July 2021

Croatia Tennis at Olympic Games: Vekić into 3rd Round, Čilić Out, Mektić and Pavić in Quarters!

July 26, 2021 - Croatia tennis at Olympic Games - Donna Vekić moves to the 3rd round, Čilić has been eliminated from the singles tournament, and Mektić and Pavić are in the quarterfinals! 

Croatian tennis player Donna Vekić advanced to the round of 16 of the Olympic Games in Tokyo after defeating the third-best tennis player in the world, Belarusian Arina Sabalenka, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) in the 2nd round match. 

After two hours and 40 minutes, Vekić achieved a great victory, winning a place in the round of 16, where she will face Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina, against whom she has not yet played.

"Yes, proud of both yesterday's and today's match. Aryna is playing the best tennis ever this year, she is third in the world and it is not easy to beat her, she even led in the third set. But I fought like a lioness and finally won," said Donna, who spent nearly five and a half hours in two matches in Tokyo, in the scorching sun and unbearable conditions.

In the fight for the quarterfinals, Vekić will face Rybakina.

"We have never played or trained, so I don't know her. We will do an analysis and get ready," said Donna. 

Marin Čilić was eliminated in the 2nd round of the singles tournament. He was defeated by Pablo Carreno Busta 5:7, 6:4, 6:4.

The Spaniard, currently the 11th player in the world, celebrated for the first time against the Croatian, who is 38th in the ATP rankings.

Čilić took the first set (7:5), but Busta proved his excellent form, which he showed by winning the tournament in Hamburg last week, with a turnaround and a victory.

Čilić's only victory in singles at the Games in Tokyo remained the one he barely won in the first round, after three and a half hours, against Joao Menezes, the 267th player in the world.

However, Čilić remains in Tokyo in the doubles tournament with Ivan Dodig.

Croatian tennis players Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić reached the doubles quarterfinals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, defeating Italy's Lorenzo Musetti / Lorenzo Sonego 7:5, 6:7 (5) 10:7 after just over two hours of play.

In the quarterfinals, they will play against Japan's Ben McLachlan / Kei Nishikori, who defeated Great Britain's Murray / Skupski 6:3, 6:4 in the round of 16 after one hour and 21 minutes of play.

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Saturday, 24 July 2021

Croatia Tennis at Olympic Games: Wins for Mektić and Pavić, Marin Čilić in First Round!

July 24, 2021 - Croatia tennis at Olympic Games -  a good start as Croatian doubles team Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić move to the 2nd round, as does Croatia's only male representative in the singles tournament - Marin Čilić!

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić have overcome their first obstacle in the Olympic tournament. In the first round, they played against Marcelo Demoliner and Marcelo Melo and celebrated 7:6, 6:4. 

Brazilians Marcelo Demoliner and Marcelo Melo offered strong resistance to Nikola Mektić and Mato Pavić, but the Croatian pair was still better and took the deserved victory.

Mektić and Pavić are the favorites for gold, but surprises are not uncommon at the Olympic Games. 

The Croatian team was on the verge of losing the first set in which the Brazilians led 5:0, but by the end of the tie-break, Mektić and Pavić made it 8:1 and took the 13th game with 8:6.

In the second set, there were no breaks until the very end, when Mektić and Pavić reached 5:40 at 5:4. They had their second match point and advanced to the second round.

In the second round, they will play against the winners of Spain's Andujar / Carballes Baena and Italy's Musetti / Sonego.

Marin Čilić, the only male Croatian tennis player in the singles competition of the Olympics, advanced to the 2nd round with a big turnaround, defeating Brazilian Joao Menezes (ATP - 217th) 6:7 (5), 7:5, 7:6 (7) after three hours and 23 minutes of play.

Čilić finished the match with 12 aces, 12 double faults, and a first-serve percentage of only 54%. He made 49 unforced errors compared to Menezes' 27 and realized only five of the 17 break points he had.

Čilić's opponent in the 2nd round will be Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta (ATP - 11th) who defeated American Tennys Sandgren 7:5, 6:2. Čilić is 4-0 against the Spaniard in mutual matches.

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Sunday, 11 July 2021

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić are Wimbledon Champions!

July 11, 2021 - Croatian tennis players Nikola Metkić and Mate Pavić are the Wimbledon champions! Bravo!

The best tennis pair in the world, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić are the winners of this year's Wimbledon. They defeated Spaniard Marcel Granollers and Argentine Horace Zeballos in the final 6-4, 7-6 (5), 2-6, 7-5 after two hours and 43 minutes of play.

For Pavić, this is the third Grand Slam won in the men's doubles competition. In 2018, he won the Australian Open with Oliver Marach, and last year the US Open with Bruno Soares, while Mektić won his first in this competition. For Mektić and Pavić, this was already the 10th final of this season and the eighth title, but convincingly the biggest.

To win the first set, one "break" was enough for Mektic and Pavic, which they achieved in the seventh game when they combined several excellent backhands on Granollers' serve and took a 4-3 lead. The Croatian duo had two chances to take the serve away from Zeballos in the ninth game, but the Argentine got away with excellent serves. However, Pavić calmly brought the first part of the game to an end with a good service game at 5-4.

In the second set, no pair got a chance to take the service away from the opponent, so the winner was decided by a tie-break. And in it, an unusual situation occurred when Zeballos covered the volley on the net only for the main judge Aurelie Tourte to award a point to the Croatian pair because the Argentine was playing with a racket over the net. In addition, Granollers made a double service error on the set point of the Croatian pair, so Mektić and Pavić arrived on the set after winning Wimbledon.

Unfortunately, the beginning of the third set was the worst period of the game for the Croatian combination. First, after two bad reactions on the net, Granollers and Zeballos reached an irreparable advantage. They were also the only two games in which Granollers and Zeballos had break points and both won.

Mektic and Pavic twice threatened to take the serve away from Zeballos in the fourth set, the first time with a 3-2 lead when they were 15-40, but the Argentine first served well and then played an incredible volley. With the 5-4 advantage of the Croatian pair, Mektić and Pavić reached the match point, but the service winner followed again. However, with 6-5 for Mektić and Pavić, our pair started the game with two returns, reached 0-30, and Zeballos offered the second match ball with a missed volley. Another great return followed, but the Spaniard and the Argentine refused to surrender, but one of those defensive shots finally ended up in the net, so the celebration of 32-year-old Mektic and 28-year-old Pavic could begin.

For the Granollers, this was their fourth appearance in the men's doubles final at the "grand slam" and their fourth defeat, while Zeballos lost both of its previous finals.

FINAL RESULT:

NIKOLA MEKTIC / MATE PAVIC (CRO / 1) - Marcel Granollers / Horacio Zeballos (Spa / Arg / 4) 6-4, 7-6 (5), 2-6, 7-5

Source: Sportske Novosti

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Thursday, 8 July 2021

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić in Wimbledon Doubles Final!

July 8, 2021 - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić are in the Wimbledon doubles final!

Croatian tennis players and the first-seed of Wimbledon Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić advanced to the final, defeating the American-British team Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 7:6 (6), 6:3, 6:7 (2), 7:6 (5) in the semifinals after three hours and 22 minutes of play.

There were no breaks in the first set, and the decision fell in the thirteenth game, which Mektić and Pavić secured with two mini-breaks. The Croatian duo saved three break points in the third game of the second set and then used the first one with a 3:2 lead.

A great fight took place in the third set. Ram and Salisbury threatened several times, but the decision fell again, as in the first set, in the thirteenth game. However, this time, Ram and Salisbury were better and extended the match at 7:2.

Ram and Salisbury had the break in the fourth set, but the Mektić and Pavić returned immediately in the next game. With a 6:5 lead, on the opponent's serve, Pavić and Mektić were at 0-30, but they failed to finish the match. However, in the thirteenth game, Mektić had a great return, and Pavić served to celebrate. 

Mektić has played only one Grand Slam final in his career, while Pavić has won two Grand Slams in the men's doubles competition, celebrating in 2018 at the Australian Open and the US Open in 2020.

Mektić and Pavić have lost only five matches this season, they have won seven titles, and this is their first joint Grand Slam final. They were defeated in the semifinal match at the Australian Open, while they missed Roland Garros after testing positive for coronavirus.

This was Mektić and Pavić's fourth duel this year against Ram and Salisbury, and the best doubles team in the world won all three previous clashes - in the final of Eastbourne and Rome and the semifinal in Miami. 

In the final, they will play against the Spanish-Argentine team Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos. They were better than Italian Simone Bolelli and Argentine Maximo Gonzalez 6:4, 6:4, 7:6 (3) in the semifinal.

Source: HRT

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Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić Secure Spot in Wimbledon Doubles Semifinals!

July 7, 2021 - Croatian duo Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić are in the Wimbledon doubles semifinals! 

The best doubles team in the world, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić advanced to the semifinals of Wimbledon after a big turnaround and a 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory against the winner of this 2017 tournament, Polish player Lukasz Kubot and Brazilian Marcelo Melo, after three hours and 40 minutes of play.

Mektić and Pavić, who have already won seven tournaments from nine appearances in the finals this year, remained in the game to win their first joint Grand Slam title. Recall, the Croatian team was stopped in the semifinals in Australia and didn't play at Roland Garros due to positive COVID-19 tests. And after the first hour and a half of this duel, it looked like their trip to Wimbledon would end in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, both of them struggled when serving and often made double faults. Pavić lost the serve in the sixth game of the first and Mektić in the third game of the second set. 

It was enough for Kubot and Melo to take a 2-0 lead in the sets as they were not faced with a single break point in the first two sets.

However, in the third set, the situation began to change. Pavić saved the break point at 3-3, and Mektić two at 4-4, after which they had a break to secure the third set. Mektić brilliantly hit the return on Kubot's serve on the set point. It was a sign that Mektić and Pavić became a better duo on the court.

There were no breaks in the fourth set, although Mektić and Pavić had as many as five chances with the 4-3 lead on Kubot's serve, three of which were played. However, in the tie-break, Mektić and Pavić made it 5-0 and calmly brought the match to an end.

Mektić and Pavić were 4-4 at the beginning of the 5th set and Mektić brought the duel to an end with his serve.

In the semifinals, Mektić and Pavić will play against the winner Juan Sebastian Cabal / Robert Farah and Rajeev Ram / Joe Salisbury.

Source: HRT

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Saturday, 3 July 2021

Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić into 3rd Round of Wimbledon Doubles Tournament

July 3, 2021 - Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić have not let their absence from Roland Garros be known as they move their way into the third round of the Wimbledon doubles tournament!

Croatian tennis players Nikola Mektić, Mate Pavić, and Ivan Dodig were successful in their men's doubles matches at Wimbledon played on Friday.

Mektić and Pavić, who are the first seed of the tournament, convincingly defeated Australians Alex De Minaur and Matt Reid 6-2, 6-4, while Australian Open winners Dodig and Slovak Filip Polašek beat Slovak Norbert Gombos and Spaniard Pedro Martinez 6-2, 6-1 in the first round.

In the third round, Mektić and Pavić will play against the winner of the match between the Bosnian and Serbian duo Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic and New Zealander Marcus Daniello and Austrian Philipp Oswald.

The fifth seed Dodig and Polašek will play Spaniard Jaume Munar and Briton Cameron Norrie in the second round.

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

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

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

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

Recall, Donna Vekić lost in the second round to Karolina Pliskova, while Petra Martić lost in the second round to Irina-Camelia Begu. Martić and American doubles partner Shelby Rogers are in the second round of the doubles competition. 

Source: HRT

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Saturday, 26 June 2021

Unstoppable Duo: Croatian Doubles Team Wins 7th Joint ATP Title!

June 26, 2021 - The celebrated Croatian doubles team of Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić have won the ATP tournament in Eastbourne after beating the American-British duo Rajeev Ram - Joe Salisbury 6-4, 6-3 in the final on Friday.

In the Eastbourne International final match that lasted an hour and three minutes, Mektić and Pavić served four aces, and the rivals made three double faults. The Croatian duo also never lost their serve, and Ram and Salisbury lost theirs 3 times, writes Gol.hr.

This was the ninth final this year for Mektić and Pavić and the 7th ATP tour title. 

"I am very happy with the title here after everything that has happened recently, getting ill in Paris. We are very happy with the way we came back, very fast, very quick. We found good form [this week]," Mektić said for ATP Tour.

“I think we played an excellent match. We have played them three times and they are always tough matches. It goes back to a few points, we saved a couple of break points, and they didn’t," added Pavić. 

The Croatian duo is now 42-6 in their first year together.

Kontaveit and Ostapenko in the women's final

At the same time, the finalists in this same tournament in the women's individual competition are known. Estonian Anett Kontaveit will play against Latvian Jelena Ostapenko.
Kontaveit secured a place in the final after her rival in the semifinals on Friday, Italian Camila Giorgi, handed over the match in the first set.

There were no indications that Giorgi had any problems until the score was 4-5, but then she said she was injured and could not continue the match.

It was the end of a great week for the Italian, the 75th tennis player in the world, who eliminated fifth seed Karolina Plišková and first seed Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka on her way to the semifinals.

Ostapenko reached the final by defeating Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina, who eliminated Serena Williams 6-4, 6-1 in the Roland Garros final this year.

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Sunday, 16 May 2021

Italian Open: Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic Win 6th Joint Title!

May 16, 2021 - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić have done it again, this time with a title at the Italian Open! 

Croatian tennis players Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić won the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Rome, defeating American Rajeev Rama and Briton Joe Salisbury 6:4, 7:6 (4) in the final.

Pavić and Mektić won the first set after 33 minutes of play thanks to a break in the fifth game which was enough for the 6:4 win. In the second set, neither side had a break and the decision fell in the 13th game, which was fantastically played by the Croats who quickly took a 6:0 lead. Their opponents saved four match points but failed to save the fifth and the celebration began for the Croatian duo.

This year has been extremely successful for Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić. They have played eight finals and have won six titles so far (Antalya, Melbourne, Rotterdam, Miami, Monte Carlo, Rome).

They reached the final in four Masters 1000 tournaments and have three titles. They have 37 wins and four losses this season.

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