Olympics-Tennis-Mektic and Pavic win first tennis gold for Croatia


Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Tennis - Men's Doubles - Medal Ceremony- Ariake Tennis Park - Tokyo, Japan - July 30, 2021. Gold medallists Mate Pavic of Croatia and Nikola Mektic of Croatia celebrate on the podium REUTERS/Edgar Su

TOKYO (Reuters) - Croatia's Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic beat compatriots Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig 6-4 3-6 (10-6) in the Olympics men’s doubles final on Friday to win their country’s first gold medal in the sport.

It was also Croatia’s first silver after three bronze medals at previous Games -- two at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and one at Athens 2004.

Mektic and Pavic, who had not played as a pair before this year, also won the Wimbledon title this month, and Mektic admitted that playing his countrymen in the final had been "a little tricky".

The silver medallists expressed mixed feelings about their loss.

"We are super proud even though it's a mixed emotion with being so close (to the medal) and not being able to hold the gold medal," Cilic said.

New Zealand's Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus won the bronze by beating Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren of the United States 7-6(3) 6-2 to secure their country’s first ever Olympic tennis medal.

New Zealander Anthony Wilding won a bronze medal as part of a combined Australasian team in 1912.

"We have made a little bit of history today," Daniell said, adding that the pair had had to endure extreme heat while sharing a small room in the athletes' village which had helped strengthen the bond between them.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Ken Ferris and Ed Osmond)

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