For former Croatia-Open champion Marin Cilic, the tournament in Umag is already over. In front of his own audience, the Croatian had to compete against Flavio Cobolli from Italy, who had already won two matches in the qualifying tournament. It may seem beneficial to draw against a qualifier in the first round, but that is not always the case. A qualifier is already used to the court and conditions of the tournament and is naturally in the winning mood. Add to that the fact that Cilic didn’t show his best game and the recipe for an early elimination is written. Cobolli was playing well. And although he was playing against a Croatian Grand Slam winner in Croatia, the young Italian still received the necessary support from the stands. Not surprising, because traditionally there are many Italian fans in Umag, which is close to Italy. Cilic played with a bandage on his leg. It is not known whether he suffered much from the apparent injury, but it was clear that the Croat’s footwork has been better than what he showed against Cobolli. Too often he was not in the right position, which resulted in too many unnecessary mistakes.
It should be noted that the picture of making unnecessary mistakes this year in Umag is somewhat distorted. Due to the bad weather last Friday about which we reported earlier, the groundsmen have worked with all their might to restore the courts, but a lot of new gravel has been added to the courts, which quickly causes unevenness. Many players complain about this to the referee. Indeed, the balls sometimes bounce in an unpredictable way. The frustration about this is understandable, but this is not the explanation for the loss of Cilic. The Italian was simply better and won 6-4; 6-3.
For 21-year-old Flavio it was the match of his life. Afterwards he (rightly) showed great respect for the tennis giant Cilic and he considered it an honor to have played against such a greatness. For the Croatian public it is a pity that they no longer see Cilic in action. Of course, that disappointment especially applies to Cilic himself, but despite the lost match he patiently signed autographs and took a picture with his fans. That is characteristic of Cilic’s personality, because not every tennis player still has attention for his fans after a lost match.
In addition to Cilic, more Croats play in Umag. For example, a purely Croatian showdown took place between Duje Ajdukovic and Dino Prizmic. It was convincingly in favor of Dino Prizmic. Both Croatians had gained access to the tournament via a wild card. Poor Duje couldn’t enjoy that for long because he had little to say against his compatriot and was put aside with 6-1 and 6-2.
Taro Daniel from Japan had a tough start in Umag. He lost the first set 6-1 to Spaniard Martin Landaluce. That result was not distorted because in the first set the Spaniard clearly had the better of the game. The unnecessary mistakes piled up with Daniel. However, he managed to turn the game in his favor and eventually won with clear numbers: 1-6; 7-5; 6-2.