Thursday, 5 May 2022

WTA Makarska Open Bringing 22 TOP 100 Players for Strongest Tournament Yet

May 5, 2022 - Defending champion Jasmine Paolini, last year's finalist and top-ranked Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus, and eight-time Grand Slam winner, 2019 doubles world number one and top 10 player in 2017 Kristina Mladenović will play at the WTA Makarska Open at Valamar this year! 

Clara Burel also comes from France, who, at the age of 19, played in the third round of Roland Garros in 2020. Marta Kostyuk, a young Ukrainian star under the leadership of celebrated Croatian ace Ivan Ljubičić, Anna Bondar, the best Hungarian tennis player, and Spaniard Nuria Parrizas Diaz will also compete.


Along with the already mentioned Jasmine Paolini, Martina Trevisan and Lucia Bronzetti arrived from Italy. Furthermore, the legend of Italian and world tennis Sara Errani is on the waiting list. Again, the two best players from Slovakia - Kristina Kucova and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, announced their arrival, and the best Swedish tennis player Rebecca Peterson. 

Mayar Sherif, the best tennis player from Egypt, and the best-ranked Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, a doubles finalist at this year's Australian Open, join the list. Quinwen Zheng is coming from China; a young 19-year-old hope and currently the second most successful player in the country.


Bernarda Pera, who plays under the American flag, is also expected to compete while Antonija Ružić and Teni Lukas have been invited among Croatian tennis players, and Makarska's Marijana Dražić will play in doubles. 

Even more sports surprises are possible at the WTA Makarska Open hosted by Valamar because the two best Serbian tennis players are on the waiting list - 2017 winner Aleksandra Krunić and Olga Danilović, as well as the best Montenegrin tennis player Danka Kovinić and "miracle from Paris" Nadia Podoroska, the only tennis player to reach the Roland Garros semifinals from qualifying.

"Our goal is to grow from year to year. So we decided that the WTA tournament will be held in Makarska this year in partnership with the City and Valamar and with the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and Split-Dalmatia County, whom I thank once again for their support. The tournament is a step forward in terms of organization and logistics. This effort has been recognized, which can be seen in the applications of tennis players, because this year we have 22 tennis players from the top 100, while last year we had 13. Of course, the final list could vary and depends on the outcome at Roland Garros," said Feliks Lukas, tournament director. He added that tennis fans, locals, and their guests could expect an exciting entertainment program with top concerts and theater performances and numerous professional panel discussions and training in addition to the competitions.


Where will you be from May 30 to June 5?

Photos by Vladimir Dugandžić, archive WTA Makarska Open hosted by Valamar

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Saturday, 19 March 2022

Unstoppable Petra Marčinko into ITF Turkey Final!

March 19, 2022 - The unstoppable winning streak of Petra Marčinko continues. The world's best junior will play in her second consecutive final, this time at the ITF Turkey 10A tournament in Antalya!

Petra Marčinko continued her winning streak and was ruthless against 27-year-old Chinese tennis player Yafan Wang (WTA - 316th), winning 6-0, 6-0 in 62 minutes in the ITF semifinal in Antalya, Turkey on Saturday. 

The best junior in the world reached her ninth consecutive victory in the senior competition in difficult, windy conditions, and her 23rd win in total, if we add the last three junior tournaments in which she competed. She will fight for her second consecutive title in Antalya on Sunday, where she won her first Senior ITF tournament last week.

The 16-year-old from Zagreb adapted to the conditions and left Yafan Wang without a game. Wang is a well-known name in the tennis world - she has beaten top 10 players, won the WTA tournament in Acapulco in 2019 and is certainly a player who deserves respect. Two and a half years ago, she was 47th in the WTA rankings for singles. 

Marčinko took advantage of all six break opportunities while Wang able was unable to take any of her five chances. 

On Sunday, Marčinko will fight for the trophy against 21-year-old Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto (WTA - 242), who was better than 17-year-old Russian Diana Schneider (WTA - 857) in the semifinals 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, and who is in second place in the junior rankings.

Marčinko also played against Cocciaretto in Antalya last week, defeating her 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinal match. She will fight for her second consecutive title in Antalya on Sunday where she won her first senior ITF tournament last week.

With this week's placement in the final, Marčinko made a new leap in the world ranking and secured the 470th spot on the WTA list.

Source: HRT

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Tuesday, 28 December 2021

World Travel Awards: Dubrovnik Leading European Cruise Destination in 2021

December 28, 2021 - In the 28th edition of the renowned World Travel Awards, the distinction of the best European cruise destination went to Dubrovnik, surpassing other cities such as Amsterdam, Oslo, Lisbon, and Athens.

The award for the leading European cruise destination went to Dubrovnik as part of the 28th edition of the World Travel Awards, reports HrTurizam. It is an organization that awards the best in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry every year, and the awards are given at the global, regional, and national levels.

The winners are chosen by experts from each field, but also by users who also participate in the selection. The World Travel Awards, also known as the Oscar of the World Tourism Industry, is an esteemed award in the tourism sector and is globally recognized as a top feature of excellence in the industry.

Dubrovnik has been declared the leading destination for cruises in Europe, where there is no lack of competition. Also nominated were Amsterdam, Athens, Lisbon, Venice, Copenhagen, Oslo, Cannes, St. Petersburg, the Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Forth, and as many as three Turkish destinations: Bodrum, Izmir, and Kusadasi.

Dubrovnik has also entered the selection for the world's best cruise destination. A total of 14 destinations from all continents were nominated, and Jamaica was re-elected as the best. In addition to this, Dubrovnik was nominated for the award of the leading European city destination at sea, which also included Barcelona, ​​Lisbon, Porto, Istanbul, and Venice.

The cruise industry around the world, including Croatia, has experienced a slight recovery this year. In the first nine months of this year, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 24 foreign cruise ships sailed into Croatian ports with 134 cruises. Of that number, most cruises were realized in Dubrovnik, a total of 111.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Friday, 21 February 2020

WTA Dubai: Petra Martic Books First Semifinal of Season!

February 21, 2020 - No. 8 seed Petra Martic won the quarterfinal match against Anett Kontaveit at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

HRT and WTA report that Croatian tennis player Petra Martic advanced to the semifinal of the WTA tournament in Dubai, beating Estonian player Anett Kontaveit (WTA-24) - 7-6 (4), 6-1.

Martic (WTA-15) continued securing good results in Dubai, booking three wins without losing a set. Against Kontaveit, Petra won the first set, in which she was down 0-2, then saved a set point at 5-6, and in the tie-break, came back from 1-3. 

In the second set, Martic was too strong for Kontaveit, taking the 3-0 lead and easily ended the match after an hour and 43 minutes of play.

This was the first time Martic and Kontaveit met.

"The season has just started. Basically, I haven't played much. I was trying to find my rhythm the first few tournaments. It seems like it worked out here," Petra said after the match.

"I think these conditions really suit my game well. The ball is bouncing really high. It's great for my kick serve, for my spin ball.  I don't know why I didn't play well before, but right now I'm just trying to really just enjoy this tournament."

Martic will play in the semifinal against the 19th best player in the world, Kazakhstani Elena Rybakina, who is in fantastic form and just knocked out Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin and second-seed Czech player Karolina Plishkova in Dubai.

"I like those kind of different players, like some of big hitters, some of big servers, some are slicing around. It's fun," she assessed. "It's going to be a nice challenge, I think. I hope I can cause some damage with my serve, as well. We'll see who is going to do it better."

Martic was a WTA finalist twice last season. Recall, she won the Istanbul Cup in April and lost to Karolina Pliskova in the final of Zhengzhou last autumn.

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

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

WTA Elite Trophy: Donna Vekic Ends Run in Zhuhai, Still Hope for Martic

October 23, 2019 - Croatian tennis player Donna Vekic also suffered a defeat in her second match of the WTA Elite Trophy tournament in Zhuhai, China, and thus finished her 2019 tennis season.

Namely, HRT writes that in the 2nd round of the Azalea group, the 23-year-old Osijek native lost to 19-year-old Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (6), 6- 2 after an hour and 35 minutes of play.

Donna Vekic thus lost with the same result in both of her appearances in Zhuhai. Recall, on Tuesday, she fell 7-6, 6-2 to Dutch player Kiki Bertens, and Vekic ended her performance in the last place of the group.

Against Yastremska, Vekic missed several opportunities in the first set, and at 4-4, she had two chances to break her opponent. Still, the young Ukrainian’s brilliant attack killed the hopes of Vekic. In the tie-break, Vekic reached two consecutive set points at 6-4, but then Yastremska scored four points in a row with her excellent forehand for the comeback. 

Vekic took out her frustration from losing the first set on her racket, though that did not help her continue any better in the duel. The first break of the entire match didn’t come until the fifth game when Yastremska reached a 3-2 lead with a great forehand attack, and after Vekic missed the chance to return to the match in the next game after missing a backhand, it was clear that Yastremska would secure the victory. Vekic did not use any of the three break points she had in the duel. Vekic achieved a first-serve percentage of 68% and only won six games to Yastremska's 13. 

But not all hope is lost for Croatia’s female tennis players - the competition in Zhuhai also features Petra Martic, who will have her first appearance in the Orchid group on Thursday against American Madison Keys. Chinese tennis player Saisai Zheng is also in this group, and in her first match of the group on Tuesday, Zheng outplayed Keys 6-4, 6-2.

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

Monday, 21 October 2019

Petra Martic and Donna Vekic to Play for WTA Elite Trophy in China

October 21, 2019 - This week's WTA Elite Trophy tournament brings together female tennis players ranked 9th to 19th on the WTA ladder, with the addition of one wildcard. This year, two Croatian female tennis players made the cut - Petra Martic and Donna Vekic.

HRT reports that the tournament, which begins on October 22, divides the tennis players into four groups of three players. Croatia’s best female tennis player Petra Martic is in the Orchid group against American Madison Keys and Chinese Saisai Zheng, who came to the tournament as the wildcard. Donna Vekic was drawn into the Azalea group against the first-seed of the tournament, Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, and Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska.

On the first day of the tournament, Vekic will hit the court against Bertens, whom she has played six times and has defeated three times. However, Vekic lost in the last match at the WTA tournament in Beijing just over two weeks ago. Vekic has only encountered Dayana Yastremska once and lost.

Martic's first rival, who she will hit the court against on Wednesday, will be China’s Zheng, the 40th best tennis player in the world. The two have yet to play each other. Martic had met her second rival Keys in only one match before and recorded a win. 

The two remaining groups, Rose and Camellia, feature American Sofia Kenin and Alison Riske and Czech player Karolina Muchova (Camellia), while the Rose group includes Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka, Belgian Elise Mertens and Greek Maria Sakkari.

Only the winners of each group will advance to the semi-final scheduled for Saturday. The tournament prize pool is $2,419,844, and the winner can take home $700,000 and 700 points.

Petra Martic is the fifth-seed of the tournament, while Donna Vekic is the eighth. This year's tournament will be held in the Chinese city of Zhuhai from October 22 to 27, 2019. 

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

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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Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Wuhan Open: Petra Martic into Quarters against Ash Barty

September 25, 2019 - Petra Martic will play against the current best female tennis player in the world, Australian Ashleigh Barty, in the quarterfinal of the Wuhan Open.

Croatian tennis player Petra Martic has booked a spot in the quarterfinal of the WTA tournament in Wuhan! In the 3rd round match, Martic convincingly defeated Russian Veronika Kudermetova 6:3, 6:1 in just 58 minutes of play.

Martic broke her opponent in the fourth game, which was enough to take the first set. At 4:2, Croatia’s best female tennis player was faced with Kudermetova’s only chance to break in the first set of the match, though the Russian player made an error that blew her opportunity to return.

Already in the first game of the second set, Martic was up after Kudermetova missed an easy volley, and immediately in the next game, it was 15:40.

Kudermetova had three chances to break Petra in the match, though all three were saved. 

By moving forward, Petra has improved her WTA ranking - which is the best ranking of her career. Namely, Petra is now the 16th best tennis player in the world, and with a new stride and spot in the semifinal of the Wuhan Open, she would reach the top 15. 

Martic will face a special challenge in the quarterfinal, as she awaits Australian Ashleigh Barty for the first time, who is also the world's best female tennis player.

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

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Zhengzhou Open: Petra Martic Advances to Final!

September 14, 2019 - Petra Martic has secured the fourth WTA final of her career!

HRT reports that Croatian tennis player Petra Martic, the 23rd best female tennis player in the world, has made it to the final of the premier WTA tournament in Zhengzhou, China, after overcoming France's Kristina Mladenovic (WTA - 49th) in the semifinal 6:0, 6:3 after just over an hour of play.

In the final, she will play against the Czech tennis player Karolina Pliskova, who beat Australian-Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic 6:3, 6:2 in the first semifinal of the day.

To reach the fourth WTA final of her career, Martic managed an extremely convincing performance against Mladenovic, whom she defeated for the fourth time in their fifth encounter. The Duce native never lost her serve and broke her French opponent four times.

In the first set, which lasted only 22 minutes, Martic took the serve of the French tennis player three times. In the second set, Mladenovic offered stronger resistance, and the match was even until Martic took the 5:3 lead. After that, she quickly ended the match at her serve. 

Martic served three aces in the match and Mladenovic just one. Martic took serve of her rival four times, and never lost her own. Mladenovic made six double faults, while Petra Martic made none.

This will be the sixth match between Martic and Karolina Pliskova. Martic has been better than Pliskova four times so far, with the last time this year at Roland Garros.

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

Friday, 13 September 2019

Zhengzhou Open: Petra Martic Secures Spot in Semifinal

September 13, 2019 - Croatian tennis player Petra Martic advanced to the semifinal of the WTA tournament in Zhengzhou, beating Belarusian Arina Sabalenka 7:5, 5:7, 6:4 in the quarterfinal after two hours and 41 minutes of play.

HRT reports that this was the second encounter between Martic and Sabalenkao, and revenge for Martic after losing to the Belarusian player at the start of the tournament in Cincinnati one month ago.

In the first set, Martic lost her break advantage twice, but when she took Sabalenka’s serve for the 6:5 lead for the third time, she managed to win the first set of the match without losing a point.

Martic had the first break in the second set as well, but Sabalenka turned the score to 4:2 in her favor. At 5:2 for Sabalenka, Martic was able to save three set points, equalized at 5:5, and had a break point for a 6:5 lead, which she, unfortunately, did not use. Martic eventually failed to win the tie-break, and Sabalenka used her ninth set point to level the score.

Until the 4:4 result in the third set, neither player had the chance to break. However, Martic stole Sabalenka’s serve and found herself in the situation to serve for the match. Sabalenka reached 15:40 but did not use either of her two break points, and Martic scored the last four points in the duel for the victory. 

In the semifinal, Martic will play against the winner of the match between France's Kristina Mladenovic and Ukraine's Elina Svitolina.

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