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Zidansek Wins Maiden WTA Title

Tamara Zidansek won her first WTA tour level title at the 2018 WTA Croatia Bol Open in front of a full stadium, defeating world no. 68 and no. 2 seed Magda Linette 6-1, 6-3. Zidansek now leads their head-to-head 2-0.  With this win, the biggest of her career, Zidansek will break into the world’s top 100, jumping from world no. 122 to world no. 96 come Monday. She will also become the second best female tennis player in Slovenia.

The 20-year-old from Slovenia certainly has bright future in front of her. “A dream week is behind me,” Zidansek said. “I kept on improving through the week, from beating Ajla Tomljanovic in the first round till the finals and I played great. I do not know what else to say, this is my first WTA title, I will remember Bol all my life,” she said excitedly.

Zidansek just missed the main draw cut off at Wimbledon, so she will have to play through the qualifying rounds where she will be the no. one seed. If she manages to maintain or improve her ranking this summer, she will gain automatic entry into the main draw at the U.S. Open in August.

Linette had an impressive run in Bol, but she was overpowered by Zidansek’s aggressive play today. “I was hoping it would be different, but Tamara did great and deserves this title,” Linette said.

In the fifth game of the first set a drone appeared in the sky above the stadium, forcing the chair umpire to briefly suspend play while the crowds laughed at the hilarity of the situation. Zidansek’s momentum, however, could not be stalled as she stormed to victory with relative ease.

“We had the best tennis tournament so far. We have the smallest budget on WTA Tour, but we are the best in this category. We have seen top tennis in the final. These girls will be at the top of the sport for a long time. I am proud of my team and everything they have done. Only 60 cities in the world have a WTA license, we are the only WTA 125k Series tournament in this part of the world, in Southeastern Europe. The WTA is officially the world’s strongest brand in women’s sport and despite all the obstacles and the lack of support from state institutions responsible for developing sports in our country, there is that Dalmatian spite that will bring the WTA to Bol again,” said tournament director Feliks Lukas during the trophy ceremony.

The Mayor of Bol, Tihomir Marinković, and Blaženko Boban, Mayor of Splitsko – Dalmatinska County,  also joined Lukas today to assist in presenting the trophies.

Tena Lukas into the Quarter-Finals

Tena Lukas of Kastela, the local hero of the second round, won her night match on center court at the Bluesun Tennis Center for a spot in the quarter-finals at the WTA Croatia Bol Open. She beat world no. 134 Canadian Zhao 6-0, 2-6, 7-5.

In the first set, Lukas played fantastic aggressive tennis, her game too strong for Zhao. Zhao’s momentum picked up in the second set, when Lukas started to miss her shots. After an hour of play the match was tied at one set all.

Public support for Lukas was strong at the start of the deciding set and just a few minutes in Lukas lead 3-0. Once again, Zhao made some adjustments as she found the recipe for Lukas’ big hitting and lead 4-3. Lukas then equalized at 4-4 but dropped her serve. Zhao broke for 5-4 and served for the match. The 23-year-old Croatian could not accept defeat. She returned with a break for 5-5, and help serve for a 6-5 lead. When Lukas finally broke Zhao, taking the last set 7-5, the crowd erupted with cheers and they jumped to their feet.

After her match, Lukas said “I left my heart on the court, I really did my best. The audience helped me so much, without them it would be a question of pulling out, but for them I had to find the last ounce of strength.”

When asked how she plans to prepare for tomorrow against Mariana Duque-Mariño Lukas said, “I do not think about it, I’ll play point-for-point, game-for-game, and I hope to celebrate again.”

There were plenty of other interesting matches at the WTA Croatia Bol Open on Thursday. In eight intriguing individual duels, we would highlight the match between Montenegrin Danka Kovinic and Pole Magda Linette. Kovinic has a devastating serve and very strikes the ball with a lot of force, but the Pole managed to neutralize the attacks for most of the match. Kovinic managed to take second set, but Linette was still more consistent and finally sealed the deal for a spot in the quarterfinals.

“Every time she needed it a break point ball hit the line,” Montenegrin complained, saying she ran out of options. Linette played well in the key moments, which made all the difference in the end.

The 2016 Bol Open champion, Mandy Minella of Luxembourg, had no response for attacks made by Colombian Mariana Duque-Mariño. Meanwhile Slovenian Tamara Zidanšek, after upsetting Ajla Tomljanovic in the first round, beat Romanian Alexandra Cadantu, who was a finalist in Bol last year.

Italian veteran Sara Errani experienced a three set thriller. She took the first set off Bulgarian Viktoriya Tomova with little resistance, lost a tight second set, and finally won the third as the match stretched past 9pm.

Day 3 Singles Results:

Linette (POL) d. D. Kovinic (MNE) 6-4 2-6 6-1
S. Errani (ITA) d. V. Tomova (BUL) 6-1 4-6 6-2
A. Schmiedlova (SVK) d. S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 6-2 6-1
V. Golubic (SUI) d. M. Honcova (SVK) 6-3 0-6 6-3
M. Duque-Mariño (COL) d. M. Minella (LUX) 6-3 6-1
T. Lukas (CRO) d. C. Zhao (CAN) 6-0 2-6 7-5
T. Zidansek (SLO) d. A. Cadantu (ROU) 6-7(2) 6-3 6-3
S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP) d. S. Zhuk (RUS) 6-4 6-0

Day 3 Doubles Results:
K. Christian (USA) / S. Santamaria (USA) d. A. Komardina (RUS) / M. Minella (LUX) 6-4 1-6 10-0
S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) / B. Stefkova (CZE) d. M. Honcova (SVK) / T. Martincova (CZE) 6-2 6-1
Y. Bonaventure (BEL) / S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP) d. N. Bains (AUS) / R. Fujiwara (JPN) 6-3 6-2

Our Little Friends, Valuable Ball Kids

To make play at the WTA Croatia Open Bol as smooth as possible, our ball boys and girls have been immensely important. This year there are 30 boys and girls of 12 or 16 years, who train in tennis clubs from Solin, Stobrec, Kastela and Medjugorje. In groups of six, they track their line judges every day, spending 40 minutes on the court with half an hour breaks from the first to the last match of the day.

The ball kids are managed by Tajna Lukas, and each team is led by their coach. They begin their day with training at the Bluesun tennis center, followed by a meal, and maybe a quick trip to the beach before heading back to work. They never complain because they enjoy the opportunity to spend a few days at the tournament observing professional tennis players. The ball kids will leave Bol with a great experience and memories to last a lifetime. They say they create their own entertainment in the breaks and at the end of the day, they can be seen leaving the grounds joking with their peers.

Thank you, ball boys and girls!

Tena Lukas

Tena Lukas Through to Round 2 After Convincing Victory

Tena Lukas gave the crowd a huge smile and a wave after her win under the lights on center court last night. She defeated world no. 359 Spaniard Estrella Cabeza Candela 6-1, 6-0. The 23-year-old from Kastela received a wildcard into the tournament at the request of her Croatian Fed Cup captain Iva Majoli, and dazzled the crowd with her dominating tennis.

The atmosphere in the stands was lively, with a few hundred tennis fans gathered to support the local favorite. After the match Lukas shared how much she enjoys playing in Bol, “Indeed it is much easier [playing] at home, where I feel extra energy that carries me forward…I did not expect such a convincing victory, but I deserved it, I played great.” When asked how far she thinks she can go in Bol this week Lukas said she is hopeful but taking it one day at a time. “I’m going to enjoy this victory now and not think too far ahead,” she said.

Lukas is the only Croatian remaining in the draw. She plays again tonight, Thursday, June 7 at 8:00pm on Bluesun Center Court. She faces world no. 134 Carol Zhao from Canada. Zhao is in top form after defeating the Bol Open’s no. 1 seed and world no. 67 Kateryna Kozlova, who recently knocked out reigning champion Jelena Ostapenko, in the first round of Roland Garros. Zhao won their meeting 6-3, 6-1.

 

Day 2 Singles Results:

  1. Linette (POL) d. A. Kalinina (UKR) 6-4 7-6(0)
  2. Zidansek (SLO) d. A. Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-3 6-1
  3. Sorribes Tormo (ESP) d. Y. Wang (CHN) 3-6 6-4 7-6(5)
  4. Duque-Mariño (COL) d. T. Martincova (CZE) 2-6 6-3 6-2
  5. Lukas (CRO) d. E. Cabeza Candela (ESP) 6-1 6-0
  6. Minella (LUX) d. S. Zheng (CHN) 7-5 6-3
  7. Cadantu (ROU) d. Y. Bonaventure (BEL) 6-2 6-0
  8. Zhuk (RUS) d. K. Kucova (SVK) 6-2 6-3

Day 2 Doubles Results:

  1. Knoll (SUI) / R. Voracova (CZE) d. E. Ruse (ROU) / P. Thombare (IND) 6-2 6-2
  2. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) / B. Stefkova (CZE) d. D. Jurak (CRO) / C. Lister (SWE) 6-1 6-4
  3. Honcova (SVK) / T. Martincova (CZE) d. N. Dzalamidze (RUS) / G. Voskoboeva (KAZ) 6-4 6-2

 

Sara Errani

Great first day at the 2018 WTA Croatia Bol Open

The first day of the 2018 WTA Croatia Bol Open was full of interesting matches. The first round at the Bluesun Tennis Center was kicked-off by a Croat named Lea Boskovic. Currently ranked world no. 558, she is a young up and coming player who received a wild card into the tournament. She played the top ranked Montenegrin tennis player and world no. 115, Danka Kovinic. Although Boskovic provided solid resistance, Kovinic ultimately prevailed with a 6-3, 6-2 win.

“I had 3-1 but it went to 6-3 in the first set, I made a few mistakes and in key moments she took advantage of her opportunities and was better. I was a bit nervous as this is my first WTA Tournament, but the experience is phenomenal. I am very grateful for the invitation and I would like to return the next year,” said Boskovic, who has to complete high school finals before her next tournament.

One of the more interesting matches took place between world no. 77 from Slovakia, Anna-Karolina Schmiedlova and the young Ukrainian rising star, 15-year-old Marta Kostyuk. Schmiedlova won 7-5, 6-2, but Kostyuk showed an impressive repertoire of strokes and lost exclusively due to lack of experience and patience. She is mentored and managed by Ivan Ljubičić’ and his team.

“It’s a big deal for me, and Ivan’s advice means a lot to me. I enjoy it here in Bol, I’m sorry I did not make it through the tournament longer. I lacked some aspects of the game and I hope that I will correct it in the future,” said Kostyuk.

The great interest surrounded Italian Grand Slam champion Sara Errani’s match. In fact, Australian Naikhta Bains led Errani 3-2 in the first set, but then the five-time Roland Garros doubles champion picked up the pace and won 6-3, 6-0.

On Wednesday, a series of interesting matches awaits. Tena Lukas from Kastela, another young member of the Croatian Fed Cup team who received a wild card and no. three seed Ajla Tomljanović will take the courts. It will be a beautiful day to enjoy the matches at the Bluesun Tennis Center.

Day 1 Singles Results:

  1. Kovinic (MNE) d. L. Boskovic (CRO) 6-3, 6-2
  2. Bains (AUS) d. S. Errani (ITA) 3-6, 0-6
  3. Tomova (BUL) d. M. Barthel (GER) 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
  4. Kozlova (UKR) d. C. Zhao (CAN)  3-6, 1-6
  5. Golubic (SUI) d. B. Stefkova (CZE) 6-4, 7-6(0)
  6. Paolini (ITA) d. S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 5-7, 3-6
  7. Kostyuk (UKR) d. A. Schmiedlova (SVK) 5-7, 2-6
  8. Honcova (SVK) d. E. Ruse (ROU) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

Day 1 Doubles Results:

  1. A. Komardina (RUS) / M. Minella (LUX) d. A. Fomina (RUS) / M. Irigoyen (ARG) 6-4, 6-4
  2. K. Christian (USA) / S. Sanramaria (USA) d. E. Laine (FIN) / A. Husaric (BIH) 6-2, 5-7, 10-6
  3. T. Zidansek (SLO) / T. Lukas (CRO) d. D. Kovinic (MNE) / V. Golubic (SUI) 6-0, 4-6, 10-6
  4. M. Duque-Mariño (COL) / Y. Wang (CHN) d. A. Kalinina (UKR) / M. Kostyuk (UKR) 6-4 7-6(3)

Bol Open Promises a Fun Week of Tennis & Entertainment

The 2018 WTA Croatia Bol Open, the only professional women’s tennis tournament in Southeastern Europe, promises a fun week of top tennis and entertainment in one of the world’s most beautiful locations. The tournament takes place from Tuesday, June 5 through Sunday, June 10 at the BlueSun Tennis Center.

Fourteen top 100 players are set to compete in Bol next week, along with Croatian Fed Cup players and talented up and coming young players. For the first time, the WTA Croatia Bol Open will host night matches. On Wednesday, June 6 and Thursday, June 7 the blockbuster match of each day will take place at 20:30 under the lights on center court.

In addition to world class tennis, there is a full entertainment schedule. Highlights include the draw ceremony, Kids’ Day, and DJ performances at Cocktail Club Varadero. On Friday, June 9 famous German DJ Tom Novy will perform at 23:00. His hit singles include “Without Your Love” and “Your Body.”

Both the doubles and singles finals take place on Sunday, June 10. The doubles match begins at 15:30 and the singles match begins at 18:00. Following the completion of the tournament the Four Tenors will perform in celebration of BlueSun’s 70th Anniversary at 20:00 in Bol’s Main Square.

Tickets are available via ticketshop.hr. Tickets for the entire tournament cost 100 Kuna, single day tickets cost 30 Kuna, and finals tickets cost 60 kuna. 

Croatian Fed Cup Captain Iva Majoli & Tournament Director Feliks Lukas

Croatian Fed Cup Players Receive Wild Cards

Two Croatian Fed Cup players, Tena Lukas and Lea Boskovic, received wild cards into the Bol Open. Tournament Director Feliks Lukas shared the news at a press conference in Split on Wednesday, May 23 where he announced the full tournament entry list.

The wild cards came at the request of Croatia’s most successful tennis player and current Fed Cup Captain Iva Majoli. She also participated in the press conference along with her players. Lukas and Boskovic’s most recent appearance on the Croatian Fed Cup team was in February 2018 when they suffered a shocking defeat to Estonia in the fifth place playoff match. The team finished the weekend in seventh place with Bulgaria.

Since Croatia’s team missed out on making the 2019 World Group, they will remain in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I for next year’s competition. Due to the team’s surprise loss, Majoli thinks Lukas and Boskovic deserve wild cards in Bol to gain more match play. She says, “This is a chance to promote our country on a global scale because everyone on tour is constantly talking about the tournament. Playing in front of a local audience is a huge benefit for our tennis players, and this [opportunity] means a lot to our girls.”

Lea Boskovic & Tena Lukas

Lea Boskovic & Tena Lukas at the WTA Croatia Bol Open Press Conference in Split

Lukas, currently ranked no. 320 in the world, will return to the WTA Croatia Bol Open for the third time this year. The 23-year-old from Kaštela has four ITF singles titles and four ITF doubles titles. She won her most recent singles title at the ITF $15K event in Antalya, Turkey in December 2017 (d. Ormaechea 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-1).  At the end of April, she made the final of the ITF $15K event in Tučepi, Croatia where she lost in three sets to Boskovic.

Currently ranked 591 in the world, Boskovic is an up and coming player new to the tour. In 2017 she wrapped up her career on the junior circuit where she achieved a combined ranking of world no. 19 in June, and reached the U.S. Open Girls’ Doubles final in August, partnering with Wang Xiyu from China. So far in 2018 she made her Fed Cup debut and reached the finals of three ITF $15K singles events. The 18-year-old from Zagreb won two of those tournaments in Hammamet, Tunisia in March (d. Shinikova 6-7(9), 6-3, 6-4) and in Tučepi, Croatia in April (d. Lukas 1-6 6-0 6-4), respectively. The 2018 WTA Croatia Bol Open will be Boskovic’s first WTA tournament.

The last wild card for the 2018 WTA Croatia Bol Open was awarded to former world no. 5 Eugenie Bouchard. The Canadian will make her first appearance in Bol next week.

The 2018 WTA Croatia Bol Open takes place from Tuesday, June 5 through Sunday, June 10. Tickets to watch Croatia’s Fed Cup players in action can be purchased via ticketshop.hr.

Johanna Larsson Bol Open 2017

Johanna Larsson Wins Nuremberg Cup

Today, WTA Croatia Bol Open’s top seed from 2017, Johanna Larsson, won the Nuremberg Cup. She defeated American Alison Riske 7-6(4), 6-4. The straight sets victory marks Larsson’s second career WTA singles title, and first in nearly three years.

Larsson will play in Bol again this year. She is one of 14 top 100 ranked players expected to participate. Now she will arrive with a little extra confidence. Come Monday her ranking will improve from world no. 97 to world no. 59, just 14 spots short of her career best. She will be the top ranked Swede, moving past Rebecca Peterson.

After her win Larsson said, “I feel unbelievably happy. Before this week, I arrived here with not that much confidence…Coming and standing with the trophy out there on Center Court is a great feeling. It makes that I can still do this and believe in myself, and especially before a Grand Slam, it’s very important.”

She continued to analyze her performance, saying “Both of us were fighting hard today. The rain and all the waiting was quite rough for everyone…In the end, I think I had just a little bit more energy to spare, and that was the difference.”

The 29-year-old will play American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the first round of the French Open on Monday, May 28. Her best showing at Roland Garros was a third round appearance in 2014.

The 2018 WTA Croatia Bol Open will take place from Tuesday, June 5 through Sunday, June 10. To see Johanna Larsson and other top players in action, purchase tickets via ticketshop.hr.

Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard’s Comeback Efforts Continue in Bol

Eugenie Bouchard will compete in this year’s WTA Croatia Bol Open, tournament director Feliks Lukas announced in local newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija on May 19. He confirmed the news at a press conference at the Hotel Park in Split on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Canadian is currently ranked no. 167 in the world. She hopes to return to form after falling out of the world’s top 100 in January 2018. This is the first time she left the top 100 since breaking through in April 2013.

Despite her lower ranking Bouchard received several wild cards into bigger tournaments this year, including Indian Wells, Miami, and Charleston. After lackluster results in these tournaments, she expressed interest in playing smaller tournaments, like the Bol Open, to regain confidence.

After losing in the first round in Charleston, Bouchard shared her frustration. “It’s tough training for two weeks, playing a match, losing and training for two weeks, playing a match, losing and it’s a tough cycle to be in because you feel more nervous and [feel] extra pressure for that match, especially [when] you’re on centre court and it’s a big tournament, or maybe you got a wild card…So I want to play some smaller tournaments and just get matches…and just grind, you know, just to get the rhythm back.”

Bouchard reached a career high ranking of world no. 5 in 2014. She reached the Australian Open and the French Open semifinals, the Wimbledon final, and qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore. It was a year of firsts, records, and awards. Bouchard became the first Canadian, male or female, to reach a Grand Slam final and break into the top 5 of the world rankings. She also received the 2014 WTA Most Improved Player Award.

Since her breakout year, Bouchard experienced mixed results. At the start of 2015 she struggled to win more than two consecutive matches. She seemed to return to form at the 2015 U.S. Open; however, she withdrew from the tournament before her fourth round match due to a concussion she sustained from slipping in the locker room. She missed almost all of the WTA’s 2015 Asian swing, and struggled to regain top form since.

Despite her fall in the rankings, Bouchard remains one of the sport’s most visible and marketable players. In addition to $5.8 million in career prize money, she makes millions from various endorsements. She has over 1.7 million followers on Instagram and regularly appears in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue alongside tennis’ top stars Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki.

Tickets to watch Eugenie Bouchard in action can be purchased through ticketshop.hr. The 2018 WTA Croatia Bol Open takes place from Tuesday, June 5 through Sunday, June 10. The complete player roster was officially announced on Wednesday, May 23.

 

Photo by Keith Allison, (CC BY-SA 2.0).

2017 WTA Croatia Bol Open Finalists

2018 Tickets on Sale Now!

All tickets for the 2018 WTA Croatia Bol Open are on sale now. Tickets are sold through ticketshop.hr.

The tournament takes from Tuesday, June 5 through Sunday, June 10 at the BlueSun Tennis Center in Bol on the island of Brač.

The Croatia Bol Open is the flagship WTA event in Southeastern Europe. Since the tournament’s return to Bol in 2016 it consistently ranks among the best tournaments in the WTA 125K series. With $125,000 in on-site prize money and 160 ranking points awarded to the winner, the WTA Croatia Bol Open continues to attract top talent on the women’s tour and serves as a springboard for players’ careers. Each year the tournament promises a rich entertainment program for its visitors.

Tickets for the whole tournament cost 100 Kuna, single day tickets cost 30 Kuna, and finals tickets cost 60 Kuna.

The official entry list will be released at a press conference in Split on Wednesday, May 23. Top Croatian players, including Petra Martič, Jana Fett, and Ana Konjuh, expressed interest in playing in Bol this year. Some early entrants include 2003 Bol Open champion Vera Zvonareva and Sara Errani.

All profits from ticket sales will be donated to a safe house located in Dalmatia that provides housing and care for female victims of domestic violence.

To purchase tickets to the 2018 WTA Croatia Bol Open, visit the link here.