Thursday, 5 September 2019

US Open: Donna Vekic and Ivan Dodig Eliminated

September 5, 2019 - Donna Vekic and Ivan Dodig were eliminated from the US Open on Wednesday.

HTS reports that Donna Vekic has ended her run at the US Open this year after losing to the 12th best female player in the world in the quarterfinal, Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, 7:6 (5), 6:3.

In the biggest match of her career, Donna missed a massive opportunity in the first set when, in the ninth game, she had the chance to break her opponent and at 5:4 served to be 1:0 up in sets, though she was unable to capitalize. 

Bencic returned the lost serve and later in the tie-break clinched the first set. In the second set, Vekic held on to a 3:2 lead and then lost four games in a row to end her dream of a Grand Slam semi-final. It was the fourth encounter between Vekic and Bencic, and the Swiss star’s third win. Vekic achieved four aces with a first-serve percentage of 55 percent, scored 28 winners (Bencic 20) but also managed 28 unforced errors (Bencic 21).

Taiwanese player Hao-Ching Chan and New Zealander Michael Venus (1st seed) ended Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig's stellar series at Grand Slam tournaments this year, where they’ve claimed the title of Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the mixed doubles competition. Namely, Chan and Venus eliminated Chan and Dodig in the US Open semi-final in two sets - 7:6 (3), 7:5.

Chan and Dodig started the match well, and reached a break already in the first game, but that was all they managed to do to against their rival. In game 10, Chan and Dodig lost their serve for the first time, and in the tie-break, they lost the first set. In the second set, both pairs held their serve firmly until game 11, though Dodig and Chan couldn't hold on much longer and ultimately lost the match in which they achieved 27 winners and made 26 unforced errors (Chan and Venus 16). 

Unfortunately, Croatia no longer has a representative in the US Open after Vekic and Dodig dropped out of the tournament on Wednesday. Recall, Petra Martic lost to Serena Williams, Marin Cilic to Rafael Nadal, Ivo Karlovic to Frances Tiafoe and Borna Coric pulled out due to an injury. Mate Pavic, Nikola Mektic, and Franko Skugor did not succeed in mixed and men’s doubles. 

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

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

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. 

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

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Cincinnati Masters: Donna Vekić Moves Forward, Ćorić Out

August 14, 2019 - Not all hope is lost for Croatian tennis players in the Cincinnati Masters as Donna Vekić moves into the second round.

After a poor display on Monday, which saw Čilić, Karlović, and Martić out in the first round, Donna Vekić gave us confidence.

Donna Vekić overcame the first obstacle of the WTA tournament in Cincinnati without any major problems. The Osijek native celebrated against Czech player Katerina Siniakova, the 38th best tennis player in the world, in two sets (6:4, 6:3). Siniakova held on in both sets until 1:1, after which Donna completely controlled the result, says HTS.

Siniakova had the biggest opportunity in the first set when she went from 2:5 to 4:5 to again lose her service and the set. In the second set, the winner was clear thanks to a break in the fourth game. The Croatian tennis player totaled five aces, had a first-serve percentage of 63 percent and used four of 13 break points. 

In the second round, Donna awaits Belarusian player Victória Azárenka, the 40th best player in the world, on Wednesday at 6:30 pm Croatia time. Donna recently mastered Azárenka at the WTA tournament in San Jose.

Unfortunately, Borna Coric joins Čilić, Karlović, and Martić on their short stay in Cincinnati. After his first-round match was interrupted due to rain on Monday, 22-year-old Ćorić, who was also the 12-seed of the tournament, was surprised by the 211 cm tall American player Reilly Opelka (42nd on the ATP list). The game continued on Tuesday from the third set, and Ćorić lost 4:6, 6:3, 7:5.

Recall, the match was cut short on Monday at 4:3 for Borna in the deciding set. However, a day later, Croatia’s best male tennis player lost his serve in the 11th game, after which the American (who achieved 27 aces in the match) safely served to win. Ćorić scored six aces with a brilliant first-serve percentage of 71 percent, but used only one of 11 break points, which ultimately gave him the defeat. For comparison, Opelka used two of seven.

In the doubles competition, Mate Pavić and partner Bruno Soares will move to the round of 16. 

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

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Cincinnati Masters: Awful Start for Croatian Players as Čilić, Karlović, Martić Out

August 13, 2019 - Marin Čilić, Ivo Karlović, and Petra Martić are out in the first round of the Cincinnati Masters. 

Croatian tennis players did not have the best start to the Cincinnati Masters on Monday, known as the oldest tennis tournament in the United States played in its original city, announces HTS.

Namely, Marin Čilić had a swift goodbye to the Masters 1000 Series tournament in Cincinnati. The 2016 winner of the competition and 14th seed was knocked out in the first round by Moldovan Radu Albot (39th on the ATP list) - 6:4, 7:6 (6).

It was an unconvincing and underwhelming performance by Čilić who managed 41 unforced errors during the match (Albot only had 21) and did not use any of the six break points. He lost the first set after the break in the third game, and in the second set, he missed six set points - two at the 5:4 lead, two at 6:5 (15:40), and two in the tie-break leading 6:4. Čilić managed a double fault on his only set point on his serve (6: 5 in the tie-break). 

It was their second encounter and the first victory for the Moldovan player. Marin did not defend points from last year's semifinal, and with this defeat, he has dropped out of the top 20 in the ATP list and is currently ranked 22nd.

After Toronto, Petra Martić finished her performance in the first round of the WTA portion of the tournament in Cincinnati. Croatia’s best female tennis player lost to the ninth-best tennis player in the world, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka - 6:1, 6:4.

Petra couldn’t catch the right rhythm throughout the match - the first set was settled after the Belarusian led 5:0, though it was a much more equal encounter for the remainder of the match. Martić had a break point to lead 3:2, but in the next game, she lost her first strike, which decided the match. In the 10th game, Petra had three break points (0:40) to return to the match, but Sabalenka managed to keep her serve (saving all seven break points in the match) and the winner was decided in two sets.

After brilliantly completing two qualifying rounds, Ivo Karlović was not able to continue his run in Cincinnati on Monday. Karlović struggled to find the right solution for the ever-better German Jan-Lennard Struff (36th on the ATP list), who dominated Ivo in two sets - 7:5, 7:6 (4).

The only break in the match occurred in the 12th game of the first set, with both players holding their first strikes for the remainder of the game. The game was ultimately decided in a tie-break where Ivo led 4:3, but by the end of the match, he had not even won a point. The Zagreb native achieved 16 aces, had a first-serve percentage of 62 percent,  and did not have a break point during the match.

However, not all hope is lost. The first-round duel of Borna Ćorić and American Reilly Opelka was interrupted by rain at 6:4, 3:6, 4:3. The American player is serving in the eighth game of the third set, and Ćorić has a 0:15 lead. The winner of the match will play against Alex de Minaur of Australia who defeated Italian Marco Cecchinato (5) 6:7, 6:1, 6:2.

The remaining Croatian female representative, Donna Vekić, will play her first-round match at 5 pm Croatian time on Tuesday against Czech Katerina Siniakova.

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

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Canadian Open: Marin Čilić Last Croatian Standing, Moves into Round of 16

August 8, 2019 - Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić topped John Millman in the Canadian Open round of 32, thus equalizing his best result at the tournament in 2011.

Marin Čilić (16th on the ATP ranking) advanced to the 3rd round of the ATP Masters 1000 Tournament in Montreal after he celebrated 6:3, 6:6 against Australian John Millman (65th on the ATP ranking) after 75 minutes of play, reports

It was the second match between the 30-year-old Croatian tennis player and his Australian opponent and the second victory for Čilić, who did not let the 20-minute rain break disturb his game when he led 6:3, 4:2.

After losing his serve in the third game, Čilić immediately returned in the next game and dominated the court. Another break in the eighth game brought him the first set, and he gained the advantage in the second set right at the start and was close to securing the 3rd round until the match was interrupted by rain.

After a 20-minute break, Millman held his serve, but with losing one point in the tenth game, Čilić served for the win. 

Marin’s first serve percentage was 67%, leaving Millman with only one opportunity to break, which the Australian also realized. When Čilić put the first serve in, he won 81% of the points, had a second serve percentage of 50%, and took advantage of four break opportunities. The match ended with seven aces and no double faults.

This is only Čilić’s fourth appearance at the Canadian Open when Montreal is the host, and with the victory over Millman, he equalized his best result from 2011, when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the 3rd round. 

To qualify for the quarterfinal, Čilić will play against the 2nd-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem. Rain was announced in Montreal on Wednesday, which could significantly disrupt Thursday’s program. 

Borna Ćorić was not as lucky in the Canadian Open, losing to Adrian Mannarino in the round of 32 on Wednesday. Donna Vekić also lost in the round of 32 in the WTA Rogers Cup in Toronto to Svetlana Kuznetsova.

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

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Canadian Open: Marin Čilić and Borna Ćorić Move to 2nd Round

August 7, 2019 - Marin Čilić and Borna Ćorić are into the 2nd round of the Canadian Open!

Marin Čilić took the first step on Tuesday at the ATP Masters 1000 Series tournament in Montreal, Canada, advancing to the 2nd round after defeating US qualifier Bradley Klahn (92nd on the ATP ranking) - 6:3, 7:6 (7), announced HTS.

The Croatian tennis player was more convincing in the first half of the match, where he took the service of his American opponent twice. In the rest of the match, both players held their first strike until a tie-break where Marin led 5:3, saved the set point at 5:6, and eventually used the second match point. 

Čilić achieved two aces (Klahn had 19!) and realized an exceptionally high 68 percent of his first serve. He also used two of four break points (Klahn had no opportunity to break). In the second round, Čilić will play Australian John Millman.

Borna Ćorić joins Marin Čilić in the 2nd round of the Canadian Open. Croatia’s current best male tennis player beat last week's Washington Open semifinalist, German Peter Gojowczyk (85th on the ATP ranking) in a tennis thriller - 2:6, 6:1. 7:6 (2).

The Zagreb native easily lost the first set, only to return in great style in the second. In the decisive set, both players held their first strike firmly, with the most excitement seen in game 12 when at 5:6, Borna saved two match points (15:40). He ultimately won thanks to a tie-break. 

Borna achieved 16 aces (and realized 67 percent of his first serve) and used two of his four break points in the match. In the second round, Borna awaits French player Adrian Mannarino (69th on the ATP ranking), who celebrated in all three of their previous encounters. 

Donna Vekić also managed a big win in the 1st round of the WTA Tournament in Toronto, topping the 17th best tennis player in the world, Madison Keys, 3:6, 7:6(5), 7:6 (5) after two and a half hours of play. 

It looked as if the American was on her way to winning it all. Keys won the first set and after a break in the ninth game of the second set, at 5: 4, she served for a spot in the 2nd round. Keys had three match points in a row (40-0) before Donna miraculously broke her, later achieved a tie-break and equalized Keys in sets. 

In the decisive set at 6:5, Donna served for the win, though it wasn’t until a new tie-break that she secured her spot in the next round. Donna’s next rival is the Russian veteran, 34-year-old Svetlana Kuznetsova (198th on the WTA ranking). They have played on three occasions so far, and the Russian has two wins.

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

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

New ATP and WTA Rankings Out: Ćorić and Vekić Move Up!

Croatia's best tennis player Borna Ćorić advanced one place in the latest ATP rankings released on Monday and is now the 14th best tennis player in the world, while Marin Čilić remains in 17th place, reports HRT on July 29,  2019.

Ivo Karlović also registered progress and has climbed to the 80th position, while Viktor Galović dropped 21 places and is now the 221st best tennis player in the world. Nino Serdarušić advanced three spots to the 269th position.

This ATP ranking also showed no changes at the top. The top spot is convincingly held by Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, while Spanish player Rafael Nadal is in second and Swiss player Roger Federer is in third. 

ATP Ranking, July 29, 2019:

1. (1) Novak Djokovic 12.415 

 2. (2) Rafael Nadal 7.945

 3. (3) Roger Federer 7.460

 4. (4) Dominic Thiem 4.595 

 5. (5) Alexander Zverev 4.415

 6. (6) Stefanos Tsitsipas 4.045

 7. (7) Kei Nishikori 4.040

 8. (8) Karen Chatschanow   2.890

 9. (10) Fabio Fognini  2.625 

10. (9) Daniil Medwedew 2.625


14. (15) BORNA ĆORIĆ 2.195    

17.(17) MARIN ČILIĆ 1.940    

 80. (81) IVO KARLOVIĆ 659

 221. (200) VIKTOR GALOVIĆ 211

 269. (272) NINO SERDARUŠIĆ 147

Croatia's best female tennis player Petra Martić remains in the 21st position in the latest WTA rankings released on Monday, while Donna Vekić has advanced one place and is now the 25th best female tennis player in the world.

Teresa Mrdeža has advanced six places, from 210th to 204th, and Jana Fett jumped 26 spots to be the 290th best in the world. Tena Lukas dropped eight places to 371st.

There are no changes among the WTA leaders. At the top is Australian Ashleigh Barty, followed by Japanese player Naomi Osaka, and Czech player Caroline Pliskova in third. 

WTA Ranking, July 29:

1. (1) Ashleigh Barty 6.605

2. (2) Naomi Osaka 6.257

3. (3) Karolina Pliškova 6.055

4. (4) Simona Halep 5.933    

5. (5) Kiki Bertens 5.130

6. (6) Petra Kvitova 4.785

7. (7) Elina Svitolina 4.638

8. (8) Sloane Stephens 3.802

9. (9) Serena Williams 3.411

10.( 10) Aryna Sabalenka 3.365


21.(21)    PETRA MARTIĆ 2.156

25. (26)    DONNA VEKIĆ 1.950    

204. ( 210) TEREZA MRDEŽA 294

290. (316) JANA FETT 176

371. (363) TENA LUKAS 109

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

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Birmingham Classic: Petra Martić Secures Career-Best Ranking Despite Loss in Semis

Petra Martić lost in the semi-final of the Birmingham Classic on Saturday to the 30-year-old German player Julia Görges. 

After Friday’s quarter-final of the Birmingham Classic, where Petra Martić was one set down, losing 4:0 in the second, and managed to save five match points for the win in an incredible turnaround against Jelena Ostapenko (6-7, 7-5, 6-1), she was unable to make the magic happen once again for a spot in the final.  

Namely, the Croatian female tennis player lost in the semi-final of the WTA tournament in Birmingham to Germany's Julia Görges, who is 19th on the WTA ranking. The eighth-seed of the tournament celebrated with a score of 6:4, 6:3 after less than 90 minutes of tennis, reports on June 22, 2019.

In the first set, both players held their service, but only until the ninth game when Görges used her first break point. Görges then used her first set point to lead the game 1:0 in sets. 

Martić opened the second set by losing her serve, which was followed by a series of winning two games and a break point for the 3:1 lead. Görges, however, came back to break the Croatian tennis player and ended the match by taking Petra’s serve. 

Petra ended the game without aces and hit 64 percent of her first serve. She also used one of two break points in the match, while Görges used four of the ten she had. 

This was the second encounter of Martić and Görges and the second win of the German player, who also celebrated in Portoroz in 2008.

Despite the defeat, Martić will progress one place on the WTA ladder, and from Monday will be the 24th best female tennis player in the world, which is her new career ranking. Only two places above her is Donna Vekić, Croatia’s best female tennis player on the ranking. 

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

Friday, 21 June 2019

Birmingham Classic: Petra Martić Makes Incredible Comeback for Spot in Semis!

What a turnaround for Petra Martić! On the verge of conceding defeat, Martić came back stronger than ever and ultimately defeated Jelena Ostapenko with a score of 6-7, 7-5, 6-1 after a little less than two and a half hours of play in a true quarterfinal spectacle at the Birmingham Classic. Petra Martić was one set down, losing 4:0 in the second, and managed to save five match points for the win, reports HRT on June 21, 2019. 

Spectators were already impressed from the start of the first set. Ostapenko first took two of Petra’s serves and led 4-0, but Petra went on to win five games in a row for 5-4. The Latvian player then served for the set, but Petra pushed the match to the 13th game, where Ostapenko was better and won the first set 7-6 (4).

The madness continued into the second set. Ostapenko again led 4-0, but Petra made an incredible comeback! Ostapenko was ready to serve for the match, but Petra took it to 15:40. The game then went to 40:40, but Martić took advantage of her third break point. 

The 10th game saw no less drama - Ostapenko led 0:40, but Martić came back to 40:40. After the eleventh game, Martić secured the second set!

The decisive third set saw the full dominance of our Croatian player who took the serve of her opponent three times! After two hours and 26 minutes of play, it was Martić to celebrate and secure her spot in the semifinal of this WTA tournament.

In the next round, Martić will play against the winner of the game between Kazakhstan’s Yulia Antonovna Putintseva and Germany’s Juliet Goerges.

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

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Birmingham Classic: Petra Martić into Quarterfinal!

Croatian tennis player Petra Martić has advanced to the quarter-final of the WTA tournament in Birmingham after defeating her Russian rival Margarita Gasparyan 6:3, 7:6 (4).

Martić defeated the 24-year-old after an hour and 40 minutes of play, reports HRT on June 19, 2019. 

In the first set, Petra had a break for the 3:1 lead. However, after taking away her opponent’s service, Martić asked for a medical time-out for pain in her wrist. Fortunately, after she bandaged her wrist, she successfully continued the match.

The second set brought a lot more uncertainty. Petra had a break already in the first game, though Gasparyan immediately equalized at 1:1. At 3:2, Gasparyan once again took Martić’s service to lead 4:2, but Martić did not give up and equalized at 4:4, after which the set went into the thirteenth game.

In the tiebreak, both players had two mini-breaks, but at a 4:3 lead, Martić once again took her opponent’s serve for the 5:3 advantage, which she held for a place in the quarterfinal.

This was the second encounter for Martić and Gasparyan and the second win for the 28-year-old Croatian player. The two played for the first time in the semi-final of this year's tournament in Istanbul, where Martić reached her first WTA title.

Petra Martić will play last year's Wimbledon semi-finalist, Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, who in the second round overcame British player Johanna Konta 6:3, 6: 4. Martic and Ostapenko have not played each other so far.

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

Page 2 of 5