STA, 10 June 2021 - Tamara Zidanšek lost in the semi-finals of the French Open in Paris to Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in two sets (5:7 and 3:6) on Thursday. This was only the second semi-final appearance for a Slovenian woman tennis player in the singles competition at a Grand Slam tournament in almost four decades and a half.
On Tuesday, the 23-year-old defeated Paula Badosa of Spain in three sets to become the first Slovenian to advance to the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament since 1977, when Mima Jaušovec won it all on the Paris clay.
The 29-year-old Pavlyuchenkova, however, proved to be a much more difficult opponent as she dominated the court to become the first Russian after 2014 to make it to the finals of Roland-Garros, whose prize money this year is EUR 34.4 million.
"I had opportunities in both sets, but I failed to take advantage of them, like in the previous matches. I nevertheless fought until the end. I am satisfied with how I stood on the court," Zidanšek told reporters after the loss.
"I realised at this tournament that I can match the best players in the world. I will now try to leverage this in the future, as new tournaments and new opportunities will follow soon," she added.
The Russian, who is currently 32nd on the WTA rankings, will play in the finals the winner of the second semi-finals match between Barbora Krejčíková of the Czech Republic and Maria Sakkari of Greece.
Zidanšek is also expected to crack the top 50 on the WTA rankings after the career result, as she is currently ranked 85th. She played in the finals of WTA tournaments twice - this year in Bogota and in Nürnberg in 2019
STA, 10 June 201 - Slovenian cycling superstar Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) won the second stage of the Tour of Slovenia between Žalec and Celje on Thursday. At the conclusion of the 147-kilometre stage, he was the best rider so far in the climb to Celje Castle to finish almost a minute and a half ahead of the competition.
With the stage win, the 22-year-old reigning Tour de France champion also took over the green jersey of the overall leader in the race around his native country.
With Pogačar clicking on all cylinders, the question was only who will take the second place, which went to Slovenia's Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious), who beat Italy's Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) in the sprint at the finish line.
The shortest of the five stages in the 27th Tour of Slovenia started in Žalec, and took the competitors through Velenje, Mozirje and Vransko and back to Žalec, before taking a turn to Celje for the first time.
On Friday, riders will hit a diverse third stage from Brežice to Krško with three categorised climbs (Drensko Rebro, Studenec and Sremič).
STA, 9 June 2021 - Slovenian judoka Andreja Leški won the silver medal in the 63kg category at the Judo World Championship on Wednesday, a career highlight for the 24-year-old.
The Slovenian held her own against four-time world champion Clarisse Agbegnenou in the grand final, until the French competitor scored a waza-ari one minute before the end, before ending the duel with a final pinning.
Leški, fifth in the world rankings, already won bronze at the European Championship in Lisbon earlier this year
STA, 9 June 2021 - German sprinter Phil Bauhaus is the winner of the first stage of the Tour of Slovenia, beating the Spaniard Jon Aberasturi by mere centimetres in the final spring of the 151.5-kilometre stage on Wednesday. Rui Felipe Oliveira of Portugal was third.
"Our goal was to finish the stage with a sprint. The final kilometre was very fast. The team has done a fantastic job, we had everything under control all the time," Bauhaus told TV Slovenija.
The first stage that was mostly flat led the riders from Ptuj through eastern Slovenia and to the spa resort of Rogaška Slatina.
Tomorrow, a 147-kilometre stage with two moderate climbs between Žalec and Celje is likely to see the first clash of the favourites, chief among them Slovenia's Tadej Pogačar.
STA, 9 June 2021 - The 27th Tour of Slovenia is kicking off on Wednesday, with the star of the 803.7 km-long five-day race being the winner of last year's Tour de France, Tadej Pogačar. The 22-year-old is the undisputed favourite, as he is expected to have no true rivals, at least as far as big names are concerned.
Pogačar is in the final stages of his preparations for this year's Tour de France and is looking to win the race at home for the first time in his career.
He has competed in the Tour of Slovenia four times, finishing fifth in 2017 at the age of 18, fourth the following year (when Primož Roglič won), and achieving another fourth place in 2019.
"The last time I raced in Slovenia, I helped my teammate Ulissi to win. And this time we are coming here with the aim of defending that victory. I will be happy to come home - it's a race I'd really like to win," the youngster said a few weeks ago.
In addition to Pogačar's UAE Team Emirates, three other top level UCI WorldTeams will compete: BikeExchange, Astana-Premier Tech and Bahrain Victorious, while the remaining 16 teams come from different continental levels.
In total, there will be 23 Slovenians at the start, four of them UCI World Tour competitors.
The Tour of Slovenia belongs to the second-tier professional cycling category (2.Pro), and it will be broadcast live on Eurosport and on Slovenian public television. It will be in the spotlight even more this year due to the appearance of the reigning Tour de France champion, the first time in the history of the race around Slovenia.
The Tour of Slovenia has seen 26 editions so far, having only been cancelled in 2020 and 1997. According to the race's website, 2,883 cyclists have competed in the race so far, with Croatian Radoslav Rogina holding the record for most appearances, as he competed in 19 races.
This year's race will start in Ptuj and end in Novo Mesto on 13 June. It will be the explosive hill climbers who will be in the hunt for the overall victory, with the second and fourth stages being the most demanding.
The 2021 Tour of Slovenia will coincide with another major Slovenian cycling event - the amateur Franja Marathon, which will start in Ljubljana on 13 June.
Stages of the 27th Tour of Slovenia 09 June - Stage 1: Ptuj - Rogaška Slatina (151.5 km) 10 June - Stage 2: Žalec - Celje (147 km) 11 June - Stage 3: Brežice - Krško (165.8 km) 12 June - Stage 4: Ajdovščina - Nova Gorica (164.1 km) 13 June - Stage 5: Ljubljana - Novo Mesto (175.3 km)
Note: Visit the Tour of Slovenia website (https://tourofslovenia.si/en) for more information about the schedule and road closures.
STA, 8 June 2021 - Tamara Zidanšek continues to make Slovenian tennis history as she has advanced to the semi-finals of the French Open. The 23-year old defeated Paula Badosa of Spain in Tuesday's quarter-finals in Paris in three sets (7:5, 4:6 and 8:6).
Zidanšek became the first semi-finalist of Roland-Garros, one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, and will play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia in the semi-finals on Thursday.
In her first Grand Slam quarter-finals, the Slovenian needed almost two hours and a half to defeat the tough Spaniard, who got broken down only in the extra games in the last set.
Prior to the win, Zidanšek became the first Slovenian female tennis player to advance to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament in a singles competition since 1977, when Mima Jaušovec won it all on the Paris clay.
"I had known already before the match that it would be a difficult encounter. I was leading in the second set, but she came back. I did not feel quite well, but then in the third set I felt better and eventually I won," Zidanšek told reporters.
The Slovenian was swarmed by the press after the win as she became a new rising star in Paris, and she had to hold a lengthy press conference to answer all questions imaginable from reporters.
"Slovenia is indeed a small country, but it has plenty of top athletes," Zidanšek said, adding that she personally was building her career gradually, step by step.
"I never skipped any steps. I build by career like a house, slowly and reliably. I was not a wunderkind who would stand out at the age of 16," she added.
Zidanšek has been overwhelmed by congratulations, including in person from the top male tennis player in the world, Serb Novak Đoković, as she was leaving the main court at Roland-Garros.
"Everything was very emotional. I admit that I was nervous ahead of the match and right before the end, when you are aware of the importance of the win. But I remained calm and focused on my tasks," she told Radio Slovenija.
Zidanšek will take a day off to mentally and physically prepare for Pavlyuchenkova, who will also be playing in her first Grand Slam semi-finals, and to work on tactic for the Russian.
"Pavlyuchenkova is a very aggressive player who applies constant pressure from both sides. I will try to force my rhythm of play, make her run," the Slovenian added.
Prior to the tournament, she placed 85th on the WTA rankings and by making the career feat she is expected to crack the top-50.
STA, 7 June 2021 - Tamara Zidanšek has made Slovenian tennis history by advancing to the quarter-final of the French Open as the first Slovenian woman to do so in a singles competition since 1977.
Zidanšek defeated the Romanian Sorani Cirstea 7:6 (4), 6:1 on Sunday and will play the Spaniard Paula Badosa tomorrow.
The last time a Slovenian female player was in the singles quarter-final of a grand slam tournament was in 1977, when Mima Jaušovec ended up winning the Roland Garros.
"I've not yet really grasped what has happened. I'm trying to follow my instinct and it's working," the 23-year-old Zidanšek said.
"I knew before the tournament I was prepared and capable of aiming high, but I was not thinking about how high I could reach," she said.
Zidanšek placed 85th on the WTA rankings prior do the tournament.
STA, 6 June 2021 - Slovenia's female pair Špela Ponomarenko Janić and Anja Osterman won Sunday's 200-metre race at the Canoe Sprint European Championships in Poznan, Poland. While their excellent K2 performances at top competitions are continuing, this is their first gold from European or world championships.
Silver was won by Poland's Dominika Putto and Katarzyna Kolodziejczyk (+0.385) and bronze by Hungary's Anna Lucz and Blanka Kiss (+0.418).
The Slovenian pair finished Saturday's 500-metre race fifth, falling 1.2 seconds short of bronze medal.
"The feeling is amazing. Especially after yesterday's '500' we managed to concentrate and focus, and paddle a good '200'.... Eventually we achieved a sovereign win," said Ponomarenko Janić.
Osterman said that after an initial lull, them managed to gain power and speed after the first few metres to race through the route. "It was really special to hear the Slovenian anthem, especially since we were on the podium together. We are really happy. Now we will prepare best for the Olympics," she added.
The pair's greatest feats before today include two silver medals, at the 2019 World Championships in Hungary's Szeged in a 200-metre race and at the 2017 European Championships in Bulgaria's Plovdiv in a 500-metre race.
One of Ponomarenko Janić's major K1 successes was meanwhile fourth place at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics in the 200-metre sprint race.
STA, 3 June 2021 - Slovenians Uroš Kraševac and Maruša Močnik have set a new Guinness world record in distance travelled in a pair with a dinghy-class sailing boat, covering 360 nautical miles in over 80 hours to break the previous record by almost 30 nautical miles.
The Slovenians set off for their journey in Slovenia's Izola on Sunday and reached the record near the Croatian island of Mljet on Wednesday, finishing the trip in the nearby city of Dubrovnik.
The 28-year-old Kraševac is a member of the Sailing Association of Slovenia, where he coaches the national youth team in the Laser Standard class. He is active in competitive offshore long-distance sailing, his team has said.
His sister Maruša Močnik is a former competitive sailor, and the team also featured a number of friends and acquaintances who observed the feat.
One of the conditions for the record is that the sailors have absolutely no contact with the outside world. They were followed by viewers online, where they published daily challenges that could also be proposed by the followers.
Next year, Kraševec is scheduled to participate in the qualifiers for the 4,000 nautical mile Mini Transat race, a solo transatlantic yacht race that typically starts in France and ends in the Caribbean.
The race uses small 6.5 metre yachts of the Mini 650 class, and outside assistance is not permitted. Competitors are not allowed to have contact with the outside world and may not use weather support via satellite.
STA, 2 June 2021 - The 27th Tour of Slovenia will start next Wednesday, taking riders, including Slovenia's star Tadej Pogačar, along 800 kilometres in five stages, from north-eastern to central and south-western Slovenia. Preparations are fully under way for the race, which stakeholders also see as an opportunity for the country's tourist promotion.
The tour was presented to the press on Wednesday at Celje Castle, where the 146-km Žalec-Celje stage will finish following a kilometre-long steep climb.
The tour's director Bogdan Fink said the Žalec-Celje stage should be "the first serious test for riders for the overall victory".
"We have a clear favourite in Pogačar, the Tour de France winner, with many other riders who have nothing to lose alongside," he said, hoping the entire race proves interesting.
Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), who won the Tour de France last year, will also take part as ambassador of Slovenian tourism.
Expectations are not high only in terms of competition, but also development opportunities the race brings to Slovenia and the regions hosting it.
Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) director Maja Pak said last year the race was watched by ten million people on Eurosport, which raised Slovenia's visibility.
Fink said this year viewers in more than 20 countries would be able to watch the tour, which is second highest ranked by International Cycling Union (UCI) standards.
Pak explained the promotional campaign would feature 230 30-second adds and around 80 adds for micro destinations hosting the tour around Slovenia.
The promotional campaign will also take place on social media, all under the "green" slogan, she added.
The mayors from the region around Celje said the tour was a major opportunity for their development and promotion through cycling as a sustainable means of transport.
Fink stressed the country was still amid the coronavirus epidemic, with riders already in a bubble and many coronavirus tests ahead.
Learn more at the Tour of Slovenia website
STA, 23 May 2021 - The famous road cycling race Giro d'Italia returned to Slovenia after 17 years, as Sunday's 15th stage from Grado to Gorizia also made a turn to Slovenia's picturesque wine-growing region of Brda and the city of Nova Gorica this afternoon.
This was the sixth time that the Grand Tour race passed through Slovenia, after 1922, 1971, 1994, 2001 and 2004.
The 15th stage from Grado to Gorizia was 147km long, of which 40km went through Slovenia, including three passes over the steep, 2-km long Gornje Cerovo climb.
This was followed by a succession of tough climbs and descents and after the third lap, the route passed through Nova Gorica and finished in the Italian town of Gorizia.
A number of spectators gathered along the Slovenian section of the route, particularly along the climb to Gornje Cerovo, while there were also many other activities organised along the route.
The stage was won by Belgium's Victor Campenaerts, while Colombia's Egan Bernal managed to keep the pink jersey.
Jan Tratnik, the only Slovenian fighting for what would be the ninth stage win for the country in the history of Giro, finished 31st after finishing 2nd yesterday.