Croats in Australian Open: Čilić Wins After 4 Hours, Martić and Pavić Out

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

January 18, 2019 – Marin Čilić made an incredible comeback to beat Fernando Verdasco in the round of 32 of the Australian Open. 

What an unbelievable finish to Friday at the Australian Open, which saw Croatia’s best tennis player Marin Čilić defeat Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco after four hours and 17 minutes of play. Čilić won 4:6, 3:6, 6:1, 7:6, 6:3 to advance to the round of 16.

Čilić made an incredible comeback after losing the first two sets and pushed the game to five sets to ultimately advance to the round of 16. Čilić’s next opponent is another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut, who is currently ranked 24th in the world. Agut recently beat Novak Djokovic in the final of the Qatar Open. 

However, Friday did not have a happy ending for some of Croatia’s other representatives in the tournament. 

Petra Martić failed to advance in the Australian Open after losing to the 5th best player in the world, Sloane Stephens, in the round of 32 on Friday. Stephens beat Martić 7:6 (6), 7:6 (5) in a very even duel that lasted two hours, reported

Just how equal the match was is shown by the fact that the former US Open winner had only one more point than Martić (81-80). Unfortunately, Martić had the initial ‘break’ in both sets but could not keep the advantage. 

In the first set, Martić lead 4-2, then Stephens nailed three games and returned to take the set. In the second set, Martić led 3-1, but Stephens immediately came back with a break and took the serve in the 11th game. 

Martić managed to win another tie-break, though the luck was on the side of the American player, who, after exactly two hours of play, led 6-5 and sent an indefensible forehand past Martić to win.

At the exit of the stadium, however, Martić received a standing ovation from the crowd – and Sloane Stephens. 

Last year’s Australian Open winners and the number one seed of this year’s tournament, Mate Pavić and his Austrian partner Oliver Marach, were defeated in the second round of the competition this year, losing 6:4, 6:4 to Maximo Gonzalez and Nicolas Jarry.

Zagreb-native Nikola Mektić and his German partner Kevin Krawietz won 6:3, 7:6 (5) in the round of 32 over fellow countryman Ivan Dodig and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Šibenik-native Franko Škugor and his British partner Dominic Inglot will play in the round of 32 tomorrow against Frederik Nielsen and Marcelo Demoliner. 

Borna Ćorić also plays tomorrow against Serbian tennis player Filip Krajinović in the round of 32. 

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