Croatia’s Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić won a spot in the semifinals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo with a victory against Japan’s Nishikori and McLachlan 6:3, 6:3.
“It feels good, we played a really good match. Honestly, I expected it to be harder. Nishikori is a great player in singles and McLachlan great in doubles. It was a lot harder for us the day before yesterday against the Italians. Today we served well and saved some key break points that broke the match. We are overjoyed and look forward to the semi-finals,” Pavić began in a statement after the match.
Their next opponents are team USA’s Tennys Sandgren and Austin Krajicek, who beat Germany’s Struff and Zverev 6:3, 7:6 in the quarterfinals.
“I have already lost to the Americans. It will be difficult, it is the semifinals, so we can’t expect anything else,” Mektić commented briefly.
Pavić is pleased that they have become accustomed to the conditions in Tokyo.
“It’s playing more and more, the ball is more on the court, it’s not all over with service and returns. We’ve gotten used to the conditions and I hope we continue to play like this.”
“There is no fatigue, the stakes are too high to think about fatigue,” Mektić added.
Along with Pavić and Mektić, Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig also reached the semifinals.
“The Croatian public and journalists write everything, it could be read that the way to gold is open for us, that in principle no one plays at the Olympics except us, which is a total absurdity. We can see it in the results and difficult matches between us and Čilić and Dodig; I don’t know if people are aware of what this result is for us and for them. We were the only ones to have two representatives in the quarterfinals and now in the semifinals. It’s fascinating. We all want a Croatian final and that would be a wonderful story, but we have another difficult match,” said Pavić, and Mektić agreed:
“We are not modest, but realistic. Doubles are a game where several balls decide. The scoring system is very open and equalizes things. As phenomenal as our form and results are, we have won a lot of matches on just one or two balls. We are aware that we have to play our best tennis to win.”
Croatia has thus confirmed at least one medal in tennis doubles!
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