Thursday, 10 September 2020

Mate Pavic Wins US Open Doubles Title against Nikola Mektic!

September 10, 2020 - In the first-ever US Open doubles final that featured two Croatian players, Mate Pavic wins the title against Nikola Mektic. 

On the opposite sides of the court on Thursday evening was Nikola Mektic and Dutchman Wesley Koolhof, against Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares. Mektic and Koolhof were the 8th-seed of the tournament, while Pavic and Soares were 5th. 

In the final match at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, Pavic and Soares were more successful, beating Nikola Mektic and Koolhof 7:5, 6:3. 

It took just 47 minutes for Pavic and Soares to win the first set. The duo won 7:5, and with a break in the sixth game of the second set, they came close to the title.

Pavic has so far played in the men's doubles finals in all three remaining Grand Slam tournaments. He won the Australian Open in 2018, while losing the Wimbledon final in 2017 and Roland Garros in 2018. Each time his partner was Austrian Oliver Marach.

In addition, Pavic has two titles in the mixed doubles. In 2016, he won the US Open with German Laura Siegemund, and in 2018 the Australian Open with Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski with whom he lost the Roland Garros final in 2018 and 2019.

For Mektic, this was his first men's doubles final at a Grand Slam tournament. His biggest success so far has been the Roland Garros semifinals in 2018, when he played with Austrian Alexander Peya.

Earlier this year, Mektic won the Australian Open title in the mixed doubles competition with Czech Barbora Krejcikova, while two years ago, he played the finals of the mixed doubles in New York with Polish partner Alicia Rosolska.

This is the first Croatian title at the US Open in men's doubles since the legendary Nikola Pilic 50 years ago.

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Wednesday, 9 September 2020

US Open: Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic to Meet in Doubles Final!

September 9, 2020 - Croatia's last two representatives Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic will meet in the doubles final of the US Open!

For the first time in his career, Nikola Mektic will play in the final of a Grand Slam tournament in the men's doubles competition!

After the semifinals of Wimbledon 2017 and Roland Garros 2018, the Zagreb native took a step further in New York. Mektic and Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof surpassed the 3rd seed, American Rajeev Rama and British Joe Salisbury in the semifinal match in two sets - 7:6 ( 3), 6:4.

The key moment of the duel happened in the ninth game of the second set when Ram and Salisbury lost their serve for the second time in the match. Mektic will be looking for his second Grand Slam title (the first he won this year at the Australian Open in mixed doubles with Czech partner Barbora Krejcikova) against countryman Mate Pavic and his Brazilian partner Bruno Soares.

Mate Pavic managed to advance to the doubles finals of the US Open with Soares after defeating Royer and Tecau 6:4, 7:5 in the semifinals after an hour and 26 minutes of play.

In the second set, Rojer and Tecau served for the set at 5:3, but Pavic and Soares managed to return the break, reached another, and advance to the final. The Croatian doubles final will be played on Thursday. 

Borna Coric failed to make it to the semifinals of the US Open. Coric's campaign in New York was cut short in the quarterfinals by the 7th-best tennis player in the world, German Alexander Zverev, who won in four sets - 1:6, 7:6 (5), 7:6 1), 6:3.

Until the middle of the second set, it seemed that Borna could surprise Zverev - he started the match very well, easily took the first set, and took the lead with 4:2 in the second. But Zverev caught the right rhythm and equalized thanks to a tie-break.

In the third set, Zverev was the first to break for 2:1, Borna immediately fought back, and the story later ended again in the 13th game, which Zverev took without any major problems.

The fourth set was dominated by the German tennis player who, after a break in the eighth game, managed to bring the match to an end. Borna scored five aces (Zverev 18) during the match, had a first-serve percentage of 72 percent, and used only four of 15 break points (Zverev three of eight). It was their fifth meeting and Zverev's second victory.

Source: HTS

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Sunday, 6 September 2020

US Open: Marin Cilic and Donna Vekic Fail to Make Last 16

September 6, 2020 - Marin Cilic and Donna Vekic failed to join Borna Coric and Petra Martic in the last 16 of the US Open. 

Donna Vekic has said farewell to this year's US Open. The 24-year-old Osijek native lost her 3rd round match to 32-year-old Cvetana Pironkova, who plays with a protected ranking in New York (due to childbirth). Pironkova celebrated 6:4, 6:1 in her first tournament since Wimbledon 2017.

Donna started the match solidly, kept the score even at 4:4, and then took only one more game until the end of the match, the first in the second set. Vekic only used one break point out of four in the match. In the second set, she managed to get only four points on her opponent's serve. It was their fourth meeting and the fourth victory of the Bulgarian tennis player.

The third-best tennis player in the world, Austrian Dominic Thiem, proved to be too strong for Marin Cilic in the 3rd round clash of this year's US Open. The tournament's former winner (2014) lost after four sets - 6:2, 6:2, 3:6, 6:3.

The Austrian won the first two sets in just 65 minutes of play, and Cilic did not reach a single break point in that period.

Cilic woke up in the third set, and in the sixth game, he stole his opponent's serve for the first time and reduced the score to 1:2 in the sets. Who knows how the match would have unfolded if Marin had used one of three break opportunities to lead to 3:2 in the fourth set. Thiem managed to save them at 15:40 and immediately stole Marin's serve in the next game. This was their third meeting and the third victory for Thiem.

Mate Pavic joined Nikola Mektic in the doubles quarterfinals of the US Open. Pavic and Brazilian Bruno Soares celebrated in the second round against the American duo Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow - 5:7, 7:6 (5), 6:4. The Croatian-Brazilian team was on the verge of defeat, Sock and Withrow served for the victory in the second set with a 5:4 lead, but Pavic and Soares equalized through a tie-break. They had a chance to break in the seventh game of the deciding set, which was enough to pass among the eight best doubles teams in New York.

In the fight for the semifinals, Pavic and Soares will play British team Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski.

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, 13 October 2019

Shanghai Masters: Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares Win First Joint Doubles Title!

October 13, 2019 - Mate Pavic and Brazilian partner Bruno Soares have won the doubles title at the Shanghai Open after defeating Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. 

Sunday morning was welcomed with great news out of Shanghai, as Split native Mate Pavic and his Brazilian teammate Bruno Soares won their first joint doubles title!

Sportnet.hr reports that in the final match on Sunday, Pavic and Soares defeated the second-seeded Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6:4, 6:2 after an hour and ten minutes of play. This is Pavic’s first title in a Masters tournament and 15th overall in the men's doubles competition.

One break in the third game was more than enough for Pavic and Soares to ultimately lock in the first set. Kubot and Melo didn't have much of a chance - and while they saved three, they failed to save the fourth set point for the first set. 

The second set wasn’t too tricky for Pavic and Soares, either. The Croatian-Brazilian duo only had to save one break and took the serve of their opponent twice to reach the final victory and Shanghai Open title. 

Recall, Pavic and Soares advanced to the final 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, Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo failed to defend the title of the tournament. 

Furthermore, 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. 

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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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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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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Sunday, 18 August 2019

Cincinnati Masters: Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek in Doubles Final!

August 18, 2019 - Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek advance to their second ATP final together, this time at the Cincinnati Masters!

HTS reports that Croatian Davis Cup representative Ivan Dodig and Slovakian tennis player Filip Polasek have made it to the final of the Masters 1000 Series tournament in Cincinnati, where they defeated British pair Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski 6-1, 6-4 in Saturday's semi-final. 

Dodig and Polasek secured the first set after they broke their opponent in the fourth and sixth games, though in the second set they had a much harder job. 

Namely, Dodig and Polasek led 3:1, Murray and Skupski returned to bring the score to 4:3, though Dodig and Polasek ultimately secured the final after winning three games in a row. In total, Dodig and Polasek used four of the 13 break points, while Murray and Skupski used only one of three.

In the fight for their first ATP title in their second ATP final together (recall, the first was in Antalya, though they were also semifinalists in Wimbledon), they will play against the first-seed of the tournament, Colombian duo Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, who beat Mate Pavić and Bruno Soares in the other semifinal round - 6:3, 6:2. Pavić and Soares did not have a single break point in the match, while there was not a single tiebreak in the match. 

Dodig and Polasek will meet Cabal and Farah in the Cincinnati final on Sunday at 6:15 pm Croatia time. 

The Cincinnati Masters was far from successful for Croatia's singles tennis players. Marin Čilić, Borna Ćorić, Ivo Karlovicć, and Petra Martić all lost in the first round, while Donna Vekić lost in the round of 16 fight to American star Venus Williams. 

Borna Ćorić has already announced he will not participate in the next competition, the 250 series tournament in Winston-Salem.

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Saturday, 17 August 2019

Cincinnati Masters: Mate Pavić, Ivan Dodig Advance to Doubles Semi-final

August 17, 2019 - Croatian tennis players Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavić have advanced to the doubles semi-final of the Cincinnati Masters. 

HTS reports that Ivan Dodig and Filip Polašek have reached a new success at the Masters 1000 Series tournament in Cincinnati. The Croatian-Slovak duo advanced to the semi-final after defeating Polish player Lukasz Kubot and Brazilian player Marcelo Melo - 3:6, 6:4, 10:5. 

Kubot and Melo took the first set, which was followed by a turnaround. Dodig and Polašek broke their opponent in the first game of the second set to equalize, and the key to their success was the perfect start to a decisive tie-break where they reached 7:0. Kubot and Melo managed to reduce the score to 7:4, but they couldn't do any better. 

With this result, Ivan is back in the company of the top 30 in the ATP doubles ranking and currently holds the 28th position. For a place in the final, they will play against Britons Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski.

Mate Pavić joins Ivan Dodig in the semi-final round of the Cincinnati Masters after he and Brazilian partner Bruno Soares (the 6th-seed of the tournament) topped 3rd-seed South African Raven Klaasen and New Zealander Michael Venus 6:1, 6:3.

It was all over in just 53 minutes of play, with Klaasen and Venus taking the lead in the first set 1:0, then losing nine games in a row, virtually deciding the winner. Pavić and Soares did not face a single break point, won 8 service games, and managed four double faults. In the semi-final, they face off against Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.

Dodig and Polašek will play in the sem-final on Saturday at 8 pm Croatian time, while Pavić and Soares will play at 10 pm.

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Thursday, 15 August 2019

Cincinnati Masters: Donna Vekić to Play Round of 16 against Venus Williams

August 15, 2019 - Donna Vekić will face American tennis star Venus Williams in the round of 16 at the Cincinnati Masters. 

After Marin Čilić, Ivo Karlović, Borna Ćorić, and Petra Martić all failed to make it out of the first round of the Cincinnati Masters, Croatia can still count on 23-year-old Osijek native Donna Vekić.

For the second time in two weeks, Donna Vekić (WTA - 26th) defeated former best tennis player in the world, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka (WTA - 40th), with a score of 6-2, 7-5 in the 2nd round of the Cincinnati tournament. Thus, the Osijek player has advanced to the last 16 of the competition, where she will meet tennis legend and big sister to Serena - 39-year-old Venus Williams (WTA - 65th), reports Net.hr.

Vekić needed only 83 minutes for her second win over Azarenka, during which she was the one who dominated and dictated the events on the court. 

In the first set, Vekić led 4-0, and after a long game and saved break point, her advantage increased to 5-1. Two games later, Vekić concluded the first set in her favor. 

In the second set, Vekić reached a new break in the third game and held the lead up to 4-2. The Belarusian then played a little better for the first time in the match, winning three games for 5-4, but Vekić came back with her first match point and fifth ace to secure her spot in the round of 16. 

Placing in the round of 16 will bring Vekić progress on the WTA ranking, and in the event she defeats Venus Williams and reaches the quarterfinal, the Osijek player would again jump over Petra Martić and become the best-ranked Croatian female tennis player on Monday.

Vekić had played against Venus Williams once, three years ago at Wimbledon, when the seven-time Grand Slam winner won in two sets (7-6, 6-4).

Vekić and Williams will meet on Thursday at 7 pm Croatia time. 

Mate Pavić and doubles partner Burno Soares will also play in the round of 16 on Thursday against Daniil Medvedev and Marcelo Demoliner. 

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