Croatia increased its collection of medals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo today by winning both the gold and silver in the final of the tennis doubles tournament, in which Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić, and Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig met on Friday.
First seed Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić reached the finals with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over the USA’s Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren, while Čilić and Dodig defeated New Zealand’s Michael Venus and Marcus Daniello 6-2, 6-2.
Only for the third time in Olympic history, but for the first time in more than 100 years, doubles teams from the same country played in the men’s doubles final. So far, tennis players from the same country have played in the men’s doubles final only twice – Great Britain in 1908 in London and team USA in 1904 in St. Louis.
The more dominant and well-coordinated Mektić and Pavić won the first set 6-4, though Čilić and Dodig came back fierce in the second with a break to win it 6-4.
The decision fell in a super tie-break that Mektić and Pavić opened with a furious 6:0. Čilić and Dodig managed to get closer at 8:6, but the best tennis pair in the world took the next two points for the Olympic gold.
After winning eight ATP tournaments in their first season playing together, the most important of which is Wimbledon, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić are the Olympic champions and justified their status as the first seed of the tournament.
Thus, the fourth and fifth medals in the history of Croatian tennis at the Olympic Games were officially won. The first two were won in 1992 in Barcelona when Goran Ivanišević won bronze in singles and doubles with Goran Prpić. Mario Ančić and Ivan Ljubičić also took bronze in Athens in 2004.
Croatia is now on six Olympic medals in Tokyo. Gold went to Matea Jelić, Martin and Valent Sinković, and Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić. Ivan Dodig and Marin Čilić are the first silver Croatian athletes from Tokyo, and Toni Kanaet and Damir Martin won bronze.
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