16 year-old Osijek-born Donna Vekić won her first ever Grand Slam match (in her first try) Tuesday afternoon against the Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlaváčková in the first round of the Australian Open. Vekić made quick work of her opponent in the 6-1, 6-2 win, taking both sets in only one hour and 12 minutes. She will now face former world #1 Caroline Wozniacki in the second round of the Aussie Open on Thursday. Wozniacki, currently ranked #10 in the world, looked anything but promising in her opening match vs. Sabine Lisicki, having to come back from a set down to win 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Vekić is officially on the tennis radar. But does she have it in her at such a young age to take down Wozniacki? And does Croatia finally have something to cheer about in tennis on the women’s side?
In other news around the Aussie Open…
In what was a much tighter match than the score showed, it took Marin Čilić two hours and 22 minutes to defeat Croatian-born Australian Marinko Matosevic 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 in straight sets. Čilić will play Rajeev Ram on Thursday in the second round.
Ivan Dodig will join Čilić in the second round after defeating Chinese wild card Wu Di in four sets: 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. He will face 31 year-old Jarkko Nieminen, who beat #19 seed Tommy Haas in five sets. However, the match lasted just under four hours, so Dodig should have a slight physical edge on Nieminen when they play.
Ivo Karlović lost to lucky loser American Tim Smyczek on the first day of the Open in straight sets: 4-6, 6-7, 5-7. On his Twitter feed after the match, Karlović wrote: “Some of you might say I didn’t start the season very good. But I say: First 10 atp points of da year baby!! #glasshalffull #sarcasm #jbg.”
On the ladies side, Petra Martić lost 3-6, 4-6 to Misaki Doi in the first round while Mirjana Lučić was defeated by #17 Lucie Šafářová 6-7, 4-6.