Monday, 25 July 2022

Croatia Open Umag: Wimbledon Juniors Winner Mili Poljičak to Play First ATP Tour Match

July 25, 2022 - Wimbledon Juniors winner, 18-year-old Mili Poljičak from Split, will play his first match on the ATP Tour on Monday evening at the Goran Ivanišević Stadium as part of the Croatia Open Umag. 

Poljičak will face former Umag winner and 2018 Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato (ATP - 147), reports HRT.

The 29-year-old Italian had the best season of his career four years ago, when he won his premier title in Budapest as a qualifier, reached the Roland Garros semifinals by defeating Novak Djokovic, and celebrated at the Croatia Open by defeating Argentinian Guido Pella in the final. This will be only his seventh appearance at the ATP Tour and Grand Slam tournament level.

He only made it through one round in Geneva and Roland Garros and overturned a two-set deficit against Spaniard Pablo Andujar in the first round of the Paris Grand Slam tournament. Cecchinato had a career ranking at the end of February 2019 and reached 16th place in the ATP singles ranking.

This year he had to play in the Umag qualifiers, and his victory against the Croatian representative Domagoj Bilješko on Saturday brought him to the main tournament after 38-year-old Andreas Seppi withdrew from the following match due to a shoulder injury.

The first qualifier was Frenchman Corentin Moutet (ATP - 112), who beat Matija Pecotić 7-5, 6-4 in Sunday's final round. The 33-year-old Croatian representative remained one step away from entering the main draw of the Umag ATP tournament for the second year in a row.

Along with Cecchinato, two other Italian tennis players, 20-year-old Giulio Zeppieri and 29-year-old Franco Agamenone advanced to the main tournament on Sunday, so the Italians will be the most represented nation at the 32nd edition of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open with a total of six representatives. Argentina has five tennis players in the main draw of the Umag tournament, while Spain is the third most represented country with four representatives.

Croatia has the youngest representative, the current European junior runner-up, 16-year-old Dino Prižmić from Split. The oldest player in the tournament is the 35-year-old Italian Fabio Fognini, who will appear for the 12th time at the tournament, where he triumphed in 2016 and was a finalist in 2013.

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Sunday, 10 July 2022

Mili Poljičak Becomes First Croat to Win Wimbledon Juniors Title!

July 10, 2022 - Young Croatian tennis player Mili Poljičak, who will turn 18 in three days, has won the Wimbledon Juniors tournament!

In the final match, the young Split tennis player and the tournament's third seed defeated American Michael Zheng 7-6(2), 7-6(3).

Poljičak thus became the third Croatian tennis player in history to win a junior Grand Slam tournament. Previously, Marin Čilić succeeded in this in 2005 at Roland Garros and Borna Ćorić in 2013 at the US Open. Croatian female tennis players, on the other hand, have six triumphs in junior competitions.

The first set lasted almost an hour, and Zheng was the first to break. He first went up to 3-2 and then what seemed like an unattainable 5-2.

However, Poljičak was able to recover. Zheng served for the first set, which then went to a tie-break. Poljičak immediately made a mini-break. He subsequently escaped to 6-2 and quite convincingly won the final fight to win the first set.

In the second set, Zheng was the first to break and took a 3-1 lead. However, after missing two break points in the fourth game, Poljičak went 0-40 at 2-3. He used the third break point in that game and tied it to 3-3.

Poljičak was dangerous in the second set when leading 4-3 and 5-4, but the American somehow brought it to a new tie break.

Poljičak again held everything in his hands. He led 2-0 and 4-1 and firmly held his service until the end and a great victory. Both players made two breaks each, with Zheng having two break chances and Poljičak eight. The Croatian junior had a first-serve percentage of 80 percent and won six points more than his opponent (88-82).

Poljičak thus became the first Croatian tennis player to win the Wimbledon Juniors tournament. Croatian tennis has had two finalists so far, but both lost in the final - Ivan Ljubičić (1996 to Vladimir Volčkov) and Mario Ančić (2000 to Nicolas Mahut).

Poljičak also won the junior doubles tournament at Roland Garros this year with Lithuanian partner Edes Butvilas.

Source: HRT

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Saturday, 9 July 2022

Mili Poljičak Becomes Third Croat to Book Wimbledon Juniors Final!

July 9, 2022 - In the Wimbledon Juniors final, Mili Poljičak will play against American Michael Zheng, who beat Spaniard Martin Landaluce in the semi-final match. 

Croatian tennis player Mili Poljičak advanced to the Wimbledon final in the junior competition, defeating Spaniard Pablo Rodenas 7-5, 6-2 in the semi-final match on Friday! 

The young Split tennis player, who will turn 18 in less than a week, dominated almost the entire match against Rodenas.

In the first set, he led 4-1 and had a break point for a 5-1 lead, but then came the only crisis period in the match for the young Croat. Rodenas saved that game, then returned to tie it at 4-4.

Fortunately, it only went up from here for Poljičak , who was able to solve the first set in the 10th game when he had two consecutive set points on the Spaniard's service. However, Rodenas managed to level the score at 5-5, but when Poljiček lead 6-5, he again put pressure on his opponent who made a double fault on the third set point for 7-5.

In the second set, Poljičak quickly raced to 3-0, only to take away Rodenas' serve once again at 5-2, thus achieving the greatest success in his career so far. It took the best Croatian junior an hour and 15 minutes to reach the final.

Poljičak is the third Croatian to reach the Wimbledon Juniors final. In 1996, Ivan Ljubičić lost to Vladimir Volčkov, and in 2000, Mario Ančić lost to Nicolas Mahut.

In the final, Poljičak will play against American Michael Zheng who beat Martin Landaluce in the other semi-final match on Sunday. 

Outside of the juniors competition, Croatia doubles team Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić will defend their Wimbledon title in the doubles after defeating Colombians Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the semi-final of the third tennis Grand Slam tournament of the season. Mektić and Pavić won 6:7 (2), 7:6 (0), 4: 6, 6:2, 7:6 (10:4) after four hours and 22 minutes of play.

Mektić and Pavić will play after 16:00 on Satruday. 

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Monday, 5 April 2021

ATP Challenger Split Open: Croatian Mili Poljičak Falls against Aleksandar Vukić

April 5, 2021 - Mili Poljičak tried as hard as he could, but failed to make it out of the Split Open's first round.

The 16-year-old tennis player from Split, who received an invitation from the organizers instead of the injured Borna Goja, met Aleksandar Vukić on Monday who made it very tough to win. It was 6:1, 6:1 in 51 minutes of play.

Even with good knowledge of the Firule terrain, it couldn't help Mili, as the Australian tennis player with Montenegrin and Bosnian roots was simply too strong. Mili tried many things, on one occasion even a serve under his arm, but nothing worked in the long run against the twenty-four-year-old Sydney-born player and the 207th tennis player on the ATP list.


Robert Pleško

"I expected more, but it didn't work out. He was a lot better than me, and I wasn’t at my best. For me, this is only the fourth senior tournament; here the guys are more prepared, better, and faster and it is difficult to switch from junior tennis. If I had used some opportunities at the beginning of the match, it might have been different, but Vukić set himself up well and I had no chance," commented Poljičak after the match, who reached his first professional victory in ITF tournaments in Rovinj last month. Now, he's made his debut in the Challengers in Split and, despite a convincing defeat, gained valuable experience to continue his career.


Robert Pleško

Poljičak is also competing in the doubles competition of the Split Open, where he and partner Duja Kekez will play against fourth seed Raja and Weissborn in the first round.

"After these doubles, the plan is to play the next Challenger in Split, then Futures in Šibenik, some junior tournaments, and then junior Roland Garros," concluded Poljičak.

Winner Vukić praised the young Croatian tennis player.


Robert Pleško

"He is young and has potential, it can be seen immediately. I was already in Croatia, in Bol at the ITF tournament and it was really nice. So that is why I am here now in Split. The hotel and food are great, the tennis center in Firule too. Everything is great."

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