In Umag at the Croatia Open the qualifying singles matches have started. The circumstances at the Croatia Open are always perfect: the beautiful weather, the sea, the party’s with great artists and dj’s performing there best act’s and wine tasting events. But most of all: a very well organised tennis tournament with great tennis players. This goes especially for the 32e edition of tournament this year. Not only Carlos Alcaraz is present to defend his title, but also Jannik Sinner will participate. Alcaraz won last year his first Atp-title in Umag and since that moment he did rise very quickly in the atp ranking. He now is number 6 best tennis player in the world. The very talented Sinner defeated Alcaraz this year at Wimbledon and he also managed to win the first two sets in his match against Novak Djokovic.
It is striking that many talents elevates their tennis carrier after participating the Croatia Open. There’s no doubt that this has to do with the vision and talent spotting skills of the tournament director Tomislav Poljac, his predecessor Lawrence Frankopan and StarWing Sport Management (led by Frankopan). For instance Sinner was granted a wildcard in 2019 and Holger Rune in 2021. And look were they are at the atp-ranking yet: number 10 respectively number 27. Also Andrey Rublev started his way to the top in Umag. As a lucky loser he entered the main draw in 2017 and won the tournament. Besides Rune other next gen players will be present this year: Lorenzo Musetti (20 years old and number 62) from Italy and Sebastian Baez (age 21 and already number 32 of the world) from Argentina. Among the participants are also good old Fabio Fogini (winner of the tournament in 2016), Daniel Altmaier and the Slovak Alex Molcan. Unfortunately Borna Coric had to withdraw with an injury.
The list of famous tennis players may be longer when the qualifying matches are finished. It’s always a bit strange to see great names in the list of qualifiers, but a high ranking position doesn’t last for ever. So also former winner Marco Checchinato (2018) and Andreas Seppi have to play the qualifies to enter the main draw. Both players won their matches. Marco Checchinato deprived Domago Biljesko, a Croatian player who was granted a wildcard for the qualifying tournament, the hope of participating in the main tournament (6-3, 6-1). Italian Seppi seamed to win easily against his compatriot Flavio Cobolli by winning the first set with convincing figures (6-1), but he went down in the second set (7-6). By winning the third set (6-4), he’s still in the tournament. This is not the case for Gilles Simon , who is leaving the tour this year. In Umag this goodbye was over very quickly, because he lost his first qualifying match against the Italian Giulio Zeppieri (6-4, 3-6, 5-7).
It was great to watch his compatriot Corentin Moutet. Last year in Umag the Frenchman had to be carried off the court with an serious injury. Now he jumbed up and down the court with high energy, running for every ball. It resulted in 6-3, 6-3 win against Nino Serdarusic from Croatia. Mikail Ymer from Sweden is in the main draw. This may also be the case for his older brother Elias. By winning his match against Nicolas Barrientos from Colombia (4-6, 6-7, 7-5) he is on the right track.
Matija Pecotic started the tournament in his home country very convincing. Stefano Trvaglia from Italy literally bowed his head. He had no chance against the Croat (6-0, 6-1). Slovak Norbet Gomos proved too strong for Fernando Romboli from Brasil (6-1, 6-2). Filip Horansky (Slovakia) and Franco Agamenone (Italy) played a tied match but at the end the Agamenone turned out to be the winner (7-5, 6-4)