Saturday, 21 May 2022

Mektić and Pavić Win Geneva Open Doubles Title, Dodig and Krajicek Clinch Lyon Open

May 21, 2022 - It was a great day for Croatia's doubles teams, as Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić celebrated the Geneva Open doubles title, while Ivan Dodig and his American partner Austin Krajicek became Lyon Open champions!

Croatian tennis players Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić won the Geneva Open doubles title on Saturday, defeating Pablo Andujar Alba and Matwe Middelkoop 2-6, 6-2, 10-3 in the final.

The Olympic winners reached their ninth consecutive victory after an hour and nine minutes of play and celebrated their 11th title since joining forces. 

After losing the first set, Mektić and Pavić fought back in the second set and took the service away from the Spanish-Dutch side three times. The winners were decided in the third set, which Mektić and Pavić won 10-3.

This was their 11th joint title and a good announcement for Roland Garros, which they are entering with the highest ambitions. Just last week, Mektić and Pavić defended their title at the Masters 1000 ATP tournament in Rome, defeating American John Isner and Argentine Diego Schwartzman. It was their 15th joint final and 10th title in total, which they had been waiting for since the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

But that's not all. Another Croatian tennis player celebrated today in doubles. A little earlier, Ivan Dodig won the tournament in Lyon with his American partner Austin Krajicek.

The Olympic doubles runner-up Dodig and partner Krajicek beat the Argentine-Brazilian side of Maxim Gonzalez and Marcelo Melo 6:3, 6:4 in the final. The match lasted an hour and 18 minutes.

Dodig and Krajicek achieved the victory by serving four aces, and Gonzalez and Melo recorded three double faults.

The top-seeded team reached the final by defeating the American Max Schnur and the New Zealander Artem Sitak with a smooth 6:1, 6:2.

Bravo to Croatian tennis players today! 

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Monday, 16 May 2022

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić Back on Track After Defending Italian Open Doubles Title

May 16, 2022 - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić Back are back on track after defending the Italian Open doubles title on Sunday in Rome. This is great news ahead of Roland Garros next week. 

Croatian doubles team Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić defended their title at the Masters 1000 ATP tournament in Rome. This was their 15th joint final and the 10th title in total, which they have been waiting for since the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

After the semi-final victory in the early morning hours of Sunday, defeating Italians Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić did not have much time for rest. Already in the early afternoon, they had the final against American John Isner and Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

The Olympic gold medalists won 6:2, 7:6 (6), 12:10 against Isner and Schwarzman. Mektić and Pavić could have finished the match earlier after they had 5:2 in the tie-break of the second set. In the end, however, they managed to defend the title, saving one match point with Isner and Schwartzman leading 10:9 in the third set.

It was the third final for the Zagreb-Split duo in 2022 after losing in Dubai and Belgrade.

Mektić and Pavić rushed through the first set to come out on top. In the second set, both sides were strong until the 11th game, when the Croatian duo failed to break, though the American-Argentine side missed a set point in the next game.

In the tie-break, Mektić and Pavić took the lead with 5:2, but Isner and Schwartzman returned to 5:5. At 6:5, Mektić and Pavić had a match point, but the Argentine was impenetrable. At 6:6, he combined two more great points, returned on Mektić's serve, and led the match into a decisive, extended tie-break.

Mektić and Pavić were the first to reach the match point at 9:8. Isner responded with an ace, followed by another point for the American-Argentine side, and the match point. Schwartzman pulled a forehand return on Mektic's second serve but missed for 10:10.

Nikola served an ace for the third match point and welcomed John Isner's mistake to finally celebrate in Rome.

In the 15th joint final, Mektić and Pavić finally returned to the circle of winners, just before Roland Garros, where they could not compete last year due to a positive coronavirus test. 

Source: HRT

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Sunday, 27 March 2022

Marin Čilić Eases into Miami Open 3rd Round after Beating Alexei Popyrin

March 27, 2022 - Marin Čilić lost only three games on his way to the Miami Open 3rd round, defeating Australian Alexei Popyrin 6:0, 6:3 on Saturday.

Marin Čilić flew by Popyrin in the 2nd round of the ATP tournament in Miami on Saturday! Namely, it took only 55 minutes for Marin Čilić to win the second round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Miami. Croatia's best male tennis player lost only three games to the 92nd-best tennis player in the world, Australian Alexei Popyrin - 6:0, 6:3.

In the match, the posied Marin won the first nine games and quickly resolved all doubts about the winner. The Croatian tennis player immediately took a 3-0 lead in the second set and kept the advantage until the end for the final victory.

He scored six aces with a first-serve percentage of 68 percent. He also did not allow his opponent a single break.

Marin will face the new star of the tennis world, 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz (16th on the ATP list). This will be their second meeting, while Čilić won the first test last year. Carlos Alcaraz defeated Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6:3, 6:2 in the 2nd round. 

Recall, Croatian tennis player Borna Ćorić lost to German Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 3-6 in the second round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Miami. It was their seventh meeting and the fourth victory for the world #4 player and the tournament's second seed. However, this match showed that Borna is slowly getting into the right shape after a long break due to injury. 

Furthermore, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić also advanced to the 2nd round of Miami. The best doubles team in the world last year surpassed the Georgian-Serbian side of Nikoloz Basilashvili / Laszlo Gere in the first round - 7-6 (3), 6-1. They will face Canadian Denis Shapovalov and Indian Rohan Bopanna in the round of 16 tonight around 22:00 Croatia time. 

Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo also had an easy victory in the first round of the Miami tournament. The Croatian-Brazilian duo defeated Belgians Sander Gille and Goran Vliegen in two sets - 6-4, 6-1. They will next meet Italians Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini in the 2nd round. 

After an early defeat in the singles competition, Ana Konjuh successfully continued her performance in doubles at the WTA 1000 tournament in Miami. Konjuh and Swiss partner Belinda Bencic defeated Angelina Kalinin and Jelena Ribakina 6-2, 6-7 (4), 10-7.

Konjuh and Bencic lost in the decisive super tie-break with 7-3, after which they won seven consecutive points.

Source: HTS

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

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Marin Čilić Knocks Out Andrey Rublev for Spot in Australian Open Last 16!

January 22, 2022 - Marin Čilić is in the Australian Open last 16 after beating one of the world's best tennis players, Andrey Rublev, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3!

Marin Čilić easily won the first two sets, complicated the following two, but ultimately served for the match and victory. Marin will face Félix Auger-Aliassime next. 

“I enjoyed every single second of the match. I had so much fun and played great tennis. I tried to be aggressive, you can’t give these top guys the chance to hit – and I think it worked. I’m feeling really excited, it’s going to get tougher," Čilić said after the match, as reported by The Guardian.

Petra Martić and American tennis player Shelby Rogers will play in the third round of the women's doubles competition after beating 11th seeded Ukrainian Lyudmila Kichenok and Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 4-6, 6-1. For a spot in the quarterfinals, they will face the 5th seeded Chilean Alexa Guarachi and American Nicole Melichar-Martinez.

The mixed doubles tournament also started, in which Ivan Dodig and French partner Kristina Mladenović reached the second round with a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 10-3 victory over the Belgian pair Kirsten Flipkens - Sander Gille.

Ivan Dodig and Brazilian Marcelo Melo did not advance in the men's doubles tournament, losing 7-6 (2), 6-3 in the second round to Italians Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini.

The world's best doubles team Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić lost on Friday in the second round of the Australian Open to Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios 6-7 (8), 3-6 in a match that lasted an hour and 36 minutes.

Mektić and Pavić lost the serve at the beginning of the match, but they managed to get it back in the next game, and then broke for a 4-2 lead. Kokkinakis and Kyrgios immediately came back and the first set went into a tie-break. In the 13th game, the Croatian duo managed to save three set points, but the Australian side managed to realize the fourth.

The sixth game of the second set was fatal for Mektić and Pavić, in which they managed to save two break points, but not the third. Kokkinakis and Kyrgios took a 4-2 lead. By the end of the match, the Croatian duo did not have the opportunity to return and the Australians were able to celebrate their spot in the third round.

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

Friday, 3 December 2021

Croatia Tops Serbia for Davis Cup Final!

December 3, 2021 - Croatia advanced to the Davis Cup final after topping Serbia in the doubles match in Madrid on Friday! 

After Borna Gojo took the lead against Serbia in the Davis Cup semifinals, the world's first tennis player Novak Djokovic defeated Marin Cilic 6:4, 6:2 and tied the score at 1:1, leaving the doubles match to decide the Davis Cup final team. 

Several dozen Croatian fans arrived in Madrid on Friday from various parts of Europe, including Sweden and Ireland.

In the first duel of the day, Borna Gojo defeated Dušan Lajović. 

"I had control of the match in the first set, but then I stumbled to 4:2, but the coach and the fans managed to bring me back and lift me to play better in the second and third sets," said 23-year-old Gojo immediately after the match.

"The Davis Cup is a special competition, the pressure is higher than usual, I played well here, but the most important thing is that I brought a point to the team," he concluded.

In the second singles match, Novak Djoković was better than Marin Čilić.

In the first set, Djokovic reached a break in the ninth game in which Čilić was 40-0. When he served to win the first set, the world's best tennis player saved four break points at 15-40 and gained an even better psychological advantage.

Djokovic won four games with two breaks in the second set and created an unattainable advantage. He reached a 6:4, 6:2 victory after one hour and 39 minutes of play. 

Čilić was judged by the poor realization of break points (0/8), while Djokovic used three of the eight break chances. 

It was the 20th match between Čilić and Djokovic in which Djokovic reached his 18th victory.

The national team that would secure their spot in the Davis Cup final was then left to the doubles, in which Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic met Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic.

The first doubles team in the world beat Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic 7:5, 6:1, bringing Croatia the Davis Cup final! 

Croatia will play against the winner of Germany and Russia. The final is scheduled for Sunday, December 5, 2021. 

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

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Croatia and Serbia to Meet in Davis Cup Semifinals on Friday

December 2, 2021 - The Croatian men's tennis team will play against Serbia in the Davis Cup semifinals in Madrid on Friday. Serbia defeated Kazakhstan 2-1 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, although they lost the first match.

The first point for Kazakhstan was secured by Mikhail Kukushkin, who after three hours and 18 minutes of play defeated Miomir Kecmanovic 7:6 (5), 4:6, 7:6 (11).

Kukushkin was in a good position when he won the first set and led 4:2 in the second, but Kecmanovic's series of seven games followed, which gave him a 3-0 advantage in the decisive third set. The Serbian tennis player had two consecutive match points at 5:3, but Kukushkin managed to break and took the game to a tie-break in the third set.

In that decisive game, Kecmanovic was the first to reach the advantage, had two more match points, one at 6:5, the other at 7:6, but even then he did not finish the match. Kukushkin reached his first match point with two consecutive points at 8:7, but the Kazakh also missed four. However, he managed to get the 5th match point in his 12:11 lead on Kecmanovic's serve.

In the second singles match, world #1 Novak Djokovic defeated Aleksandar Bublik 6:3, 6:4, bringing Serbia equal. An hour and 16 minutes of play were enough for Djokovic to win against Bublik, more than two hours less than it took Mikhail Kukushkin to bring Kazakhstan to the lead with a victory against Miomir Kecmanovic.

The winner was then decided by the doubles match, in which Djokovic and Nikola Cacic defeated Andrej Golubjev and Aleksandar Nedovjecov 6:2, 2:6, 6:3 after an hour and 37 minutes of play, bringing Serbia the semifinal match against Croatia, which is scheduled for Friday.

Recall, Croatia defeated Italy 2-1 in the quarterfinals in Turin on Monday.

Germany also reached the semifinals with a 2-1 victory against Great Britain on Tuesday, and Russia and Sweden will play in the last quarterfinal match on Thursday. The semi-final match between Germany and the better of the Russia-Sweden match will be played on Saturday.

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Monday, 29 November 2021

Croatia Tops Italy for Davis Cup Semi-final Spot!

November 29, 2021 - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić secured Croatia's Davis Cup semi-final spot in Turin on Monday! 

In the first singles match of the Davis Cup quarterfinals in Turin on Monday, Borna Gojo defeated Lorenzo Sonega 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-2, and Croatia took the lead against Italy (1-0). Marin Čilić, on the other hand, lost to Jannik Sinner 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 in the second singles match, leaving the doubles to decide who would book a spot in the Davis Cup semifinal. 

Borna Gojo (ATP-279) brought Croatia the first point, although his opponent was the 27th tennis player in the world and a big favorite in this match. However, Gojo managed to surprise his rival with brave play to bring Croatia closer to the semifinal.

The 10th tennis player in the world, Italy's Jannik Sinner, won the second singles match, topping Marin Čilić, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 3-6 to bring Italy and Croatia even (1-1). Čilić failed to take Croatia to the semifinals, although he served for the match in the second set. This was the first meeting between Čilić and Sinner. 

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić faced Fabio Fognini and Jannik Sinner in the doubles match that concluded the quarterfinal meeting. The Croatian duo and best doubles team in the world this year won 6-3, 6-4 to take Croatia to the Davis Cup semifinal! Croatia will play either Serbia or Kazakhstan in the semifinal. 

Croatia has played in the semifinals of the Davis Cup four times so far and has won two titles.

In all three previous clashes between these two national teams, Italy had 3 wins to Croatia's 2. Only in Rome in 2001, the decision fell before the fifth match. In Dubrovnik in 2008, Mario Ančić defeated Simone Bolleli 3-2, and in Turin in 2013, Fognini was better than Ivan Dodig after five sets.

Croatia, as the last winner of the 'old' Davis Cup in 2018 against France, could not repeat their success in Madrid two years ago. In a difficult group against Spain and Russia, they lost both matches 0:3. 

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

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Davis Cup Day 1: Croatia Opens with 3:0 Victory against Australia

November 25, 2021 - The Croatia national tennis team opened the Davis Cup finals in Turin with a clean sheet against Australia on Thursday. A look at Davis Cup day 1.

The end of the tennis season is reserved for the Davis Cup finals, held from November 25 to December 5. Croatia kicked off their group against Australia in Turin on Thursday. 

Croatia national team coach Vedran Martić officially changed his lineup on Wednesday, and instead of the injured Borna Ćorić, he called up Nino Serdarušić. Thus, Marin Čilić, Nino Serdarušić, Borna Gojo, Nikola Mektić, and Mate Pavić are the forces that will represent Croatian tennis in Turin.

In the first 1st match of Group D between Croatia and Australia, Borna Gojo, currently, the 276th player in the world, defeated Alexei Popyrin, the 61st player in the world, 7:6 (5), 7:5. An hour before the match at Alpitour hall, coach Vedran Martić was uncertain between choosing Gojo or Nino Serdarušić as the second singles player, and in the end opted for the 23-year-old from Split, although he is ranked lower than the Zagreb native. 

The second singles match followed between Marin Čilić (ATP-30) and Alex de Minaur (ATP-34). In a marathon of three sets, Marin Čilić found his way to victory topping the Australian 6:1, 5:7, 6:4.

Čilić violently started against De Minaur, took the first set (6:1) in 26 minutes, and took the 3:1 lead in the second set. De Minaur came back to win eight of the next 10 games and was up 2:0 in the deciding set. However, Marin came back with a vengeance and brought the winning point to the Croatia national team. This was their third duel and Čilić's second victory.

Croatia was then represented in the doubles competition by the best duo in the world, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić, against John Peers and Alex de Minaur. Mektić and Pavić won 6:3, 6:1!

Croatia is in Group D with Hungary and Australia, and if they win first place, they will also play against the winner of Group E (Italy, USA, Colombia) in the quarterfinals, also in Turin. Croatia will play against Hungary on Sunday.

The first phase of the competition is held in six groups, and the six group winners and the two best second-placed national teams will move forward. Two singles matches and one doubles match will be played. 

Croatia, as the last winner of the 'old' Davis Cup in 2018 in Lille against France, did not become famous in Madrid two years ago. In the difficult group with Spain and Russia, they lost both matches 0:3, but there were objective reasons, such as Marin Čilić's injury, who did not even travel to Madrid, and Borna Ćorić withdrew after the first match. More than anything, coach Željko Krajan was dismissed a few days prior, there was a conflict among the players, the Croatian Tennis Federation sided with the players, and Franko Škugor took over the coaching role. 

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

Friday, 19 November 2021

No. 1 Seed Mektić and Pavić Move to Nitto ATP Finals Semi-Finals in Turin!

November 19, 2021 - The No. 1 doubles team in the world, Croatian tennis players Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić, advanced to the Nitto ATP Finals semi-finals in Turin!

In the last match of the Green Group, they defeated Croatian tennis player Ivan Dodig and his Slovak partner Filip Polašek 6-4, 7-6 (6).

The Tokyo Olympic gold medalists thus remained in the competition to win their tenth tournament in 2021.

A break at 2:2 was enough for Mektić and Pavić to win the first set. With a 4:2 advantage, Mektić and Pavić had four consecutive break points and a 5:2 advantage, but Dodig and Polašek combined a few great points and stayed in the game.

And it nearly paid off for them, because with the Croatian duo's 5-4 advantage, Dodig and Polašek had two chances to equalize, but Pavič nailed two great serves to win the first set. 

Dodig and Polašek started the second set better and took the serve from Pavić for 2:0, but the Croatian aces immediately returned on Dodig's serve. By the end of the set, Pavić excelled with three fantastic returns in the tie break. With one, Pavić secured the second match point.

With two victories and one defeat, Mektić and Pavić took second place in the Green Group. Their semifinal opponent, which will be the winners of the Red Group, will be learned on Friday.

Dodig and Polašek finished third in the group with one win and two defeats.

First place in this group was secured by Spaniard Marcel Granollers and Argentinean Horacio Zeballos with victories against Dodig and Polašek and Mektić and Pavić in the first two rounds. On Thursday, they lost an unimportant duel to German Kevin Krawietz and Romanian Horia Tecau, who remained last in the group despite the victory.

The Nitto ATP Finals crown the end of the ATP Tour season, featuring only the world's best eight qualified singles players and doubles teams. The tournament is held at Turin’s Pala Alpitour stadium, Italy’s largest indoor sporting arena, from 2021-2025. 

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Sunday, 7 November 2021

Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić Finish as World #1 Doubles Team in 2021

November 7, 2021 - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić are the world's #1 doubles team in 2021! 

On the ATP ranking, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić will finish 2021 as the world's best doubles team. Only American Rajeev Ram and Briton Joe Salisbury threatened to catch Pavić and Mektić, though thanks to the outcome of the Paris Masters, the Croatian duo was unattainable. 

This is the third time Pavić has finished the year as part of the world's best doubles team, and Nikola Mektić is the third partner with whom Pavić reached the top. Last year, Pavić and Brazilian partner Bruno Soares were named #1, and in 2018, he was the best in combination with Austrian partner Oliver Marach.

"I'm thrilled. True, this is my third time in the last four years with a third partner, but I achieved it for the first time with a Croatian, which is a great achievement for us personally, but also for Croatian tennis in general," said Mate Pavić in a statement from ATP Tour.

Mektić will finish at the top of the ATP rankings for the first time this year.

"It is a nice achievement, especially after a season like the one we had. I was looking forward to it. When I saw how we were doing, it became one of the goals. It is nice to end the year at number 1, which is the crown of the whole season in which we had nice victories and great titles," said Nikola Mektić.

In a year full of success, the 32-year-old from Zagreb and the 28-year-old from Split won nine titles, including the Wimbledon trophy and a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Mektić and Pavić will still play in the final tournament of the eight best doubles teams in the world, where the Zagreb man triumphed last year with Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof. But, on the other hand, it is one of the few trophies Pavić does not have in his collection.

"We had a great season, and we are looking forward to playing in Turin at this year's ATP Final. We will try to end the season the way we started it," said Pavić.

ATP President Andrea Gaudenzi also congratulated the Croatian duo.

"Congratulations to Nikola and Mate on an exceptional season and number 1. It is impressive how they started the season and how much success they had in their first year together, and we should be proud of our achievements," said Gaudenzi.

Mektić and Pavić will be the first-seed at the ATP Finals, hosted in Turin for the first time from November 14 to 21, after the final tournament was played in London's O2 Arena from 2009 to 2020.

After the ATP Finals, Nikola and Mate will play for the Croatia Davis Cup national team again in Turin. They will play the group stage against Australia on November 25 and against Hungary on November 28.

Source: HRT

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