Like Old Times: Karlovic Saves 1 M.P. In Newport
Ivo Karlovic is up to his old tricks again at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open in Newport. The 39-year-old Croatian saved a match point against 19-year-old Aussie Alex de Minaur on Tuesday to advance to the second round of the season’s final grass-court tournament 6-7(2), 7-6(3), 7-5.
Karlovic was serving at 4-5, 30/40 in the third set when De Minaur saw a second serve but netted it. The three-time grass-court titlist took advantage, breaking the #NextGenATP right-hander the next game and later serving it out to 15.
“He was playing well. I didn’t really feel the ball [well]. I was missing a lot but I was hanging in there,” Karlovic said. “[The match point] was a second serve. I hit it well, and he was not able to return it so I was happy about it.”
The 6’11” Croatian saved three championship points during the 2016 Newport final to claim his first Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open title (d. Muller).
Karlovic will next face Israel’s Dudi Sela, who upset Aussie Bernard Tomic, a 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finalist, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Sela dropped only five first-serve points (29/34) in the 65-minute first-round contest.
It will be a match of contrasting heights: Karlovic is 6’11”; Sela 5’9”. The taller of the two has won all six of their FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, but there’ are no hard feelings from Sela. The last time they played, in 2014 Bogota, they hugged it out.
Sixth seed and 2016 finalist Gilles Muller landed less than half of his first serves but found a way to beat Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 7-6(5), 6-3.
Read More: The Two People Who Push Muller To Success
“Tough match, like always against Marcos… It was a little bit up and down but the most important thing was to get through,” said Muller, who improved to 2-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Muller will next meet Spain’s Marcel Granollers, who beat American qualifier JC Aragone 7-6(6), 6-0.
American wild card Christian Harrison edged Aussie qualifier Alex Bolt 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 to set a second-round meeting with third seed Steve Johnson of the U.S.
Harrison’s older brother, fifth seed Ryan Harrison, retired down 2-6, 0-2 to France’s Nicolas Mahut, a four-time grass-court champion, including Newport in 2013.
“Many good memories from here,” Mahut said. “I really enjoy the tournament.”