Karlovic targets Murray upset


Published: Saturday 4th July 2015 by The News Editor

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Ace king Ivo Karlovic has admitted he will bid to upset a nation by blasting Andy Murray out of Wimbledon with his record-breaking, siege-gun serve.

The 36-year-old Croatian booked a last-16 tie with Murray at SW19 by dispatching Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to become the oldest man to reach Wimbledon’s second week since 1976.

Karlovic dismissed 13th seed Tsonga 7-6 (7/3) 4 6 7 6 (7/2) 7-6 (11/9) on Friday, racking up 136 aces to top this year’s Wimbledon leader board: now he will meet British star Murray in the fourth round after the Scot eased past Andreas Seppi in four sets.

Nicknamed ‘Dr Ivo’ by fans, Karlovic suffered viral meningitis two years ago but has made a full recovery to climb to number 25 in the world rankings.

“Yeah that could be not nice I guess, but that’s what I’ll try to do,” said Karlovic when asked if he plans to dash British hopes at Wimbledon.

Zagreb native Karlovic has served more aces than any other player in tennis history, and peppered Frenchman Tsonga into submission with his chief weapon in south west London on Friday.

The tallest player at 6ft 11in in the history of the ATP Tour rankings takes a size 16 shoe – and boasted the fastest serve of all time at 156mph until Sam Groth hit 163pmh in China in 2012.

Two-time grand slam champion Murray struggled with shoulder and back problems against Italy’s Seppi, but came through 6-2 6-1 1-6 6-1.

Murray is renowned as one of tennis’ top returners of serve, and will need all that acumen on Monday, but has beaten Karlovic in all of the pair’s five meetings.

“Whenever you win you feel in good form,” said Karlovic, who set a new record of 45 aces in a three-set ATP Tour match against Tomas Berdych in Halle last month.

“I feel good. It will not be easy (against Murray) in the next round, but if I continue serving like this I will definitely have an opportunity.

“I know every game is different, so I always try to start serving well, and if it’s a lot of aces then things get easier.

“Each point is a new one, so I don’t feel like anyone can beat me.

“I just always go on to the next one, the next point.

“I’ve never beaten Murray, so now it’s an opportunity to.

“I feel good, I like what I do. I’m having fun.

“So I don’t know how it will turn out, but I have a chance, for sure.”

Roger Federer swept past another serving supremo in Australian Groth, the Swiss Centre Court king overshadowing a bevy of sports stars in the royal box.

Groth fired Wimbledon’s second-fastest serve at 147mph, with Taylor Dent’s top SW19 mark of 148 only just surviving.

Federer insisted he is no longer obsessed by eclipsing Pete Sampras to claim a record eighth Wimbledon title, after prevailing 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 to meet Roberto Bautista Agut in the last 16.

“It used to be more the case, you know, trying to equal Pete; that stuff,” said Federer.

“Now this is more something like you talk about for a couple weeks, it’s gone again and then you have to wait a year if you don’t do it.”

British hope James Ward was unable to continue his best-ever grand slam run, the 28-year-old losing out in a five-set thriller to Vasek Pospisil.

Ward’s Canadian opponent slipped off the service pace markedly before summoning a recovery, moving through 6-4 3-6 2-6 6-3 8-6, to meet Viktor Troicki.

Serbia’s 22nd seed Troicki defeated Rafael Nadal’s conqueror Dustin Brown 6-4 7-6 (7/3) 4-6 6-3, as the German’s giant-killing exploits took their toll.

Nadal’s Spanish compatriot Bautista Agut reached the second week, ending the run of Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili with a 7-6 (7/4) 6-0 6-1 win.

US Open champion Marin Cilic avoided being dragged into a John Isner epic of 2010 proportions as he put paid to the American’s Wimbledon hopes on Saturday.

The pair were forced off court at 10-10 on Friday night due to fading light in south-west London, but their return did not bring the marathon many expected.

Cilic held serve when they returned to Court One and the Croatian then broke to clinch a 7-6 (7/4) 6-7 (6/8) 6-4 6-7 (4/7) 12-10 victory, earning a fourth-round match against American Denis Kudla on Monday.

Isner famously beat Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the final set of the longest match in tennis history at Wimbledon five years ago, but defeat to Cilic means the 30-year-old has yet to go beyond the third round in his Wimbledon career.

Coached by 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, Cilic could face defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

Tomas Berdych recovered from a lacklustre opening set to see off Pablo Andujar, powering home 4-6 6-0 6-3 7-6 (7/3).

Published: Saturday 4th July 2015 by The News Editor

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