Just Shy of 40, Ivo Karlović Makes History Again with Latest Achievement

Daniela Rogulj

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It may be a new year, but that doesn’t mean that 39-year-old Ivo Karlović isn’t continuing to impress. Just one month shy of his 40th birthday, which is on February 28th, the Zagreb native has made tennis history once again with his latest achievement. 

Ivo Karlović has advanced to the semifinals of the Maharashtra Open in Pune, India, where he defeated Latvian player Ernests Gulbis (ATP – 95)  7:6 (5), 7:6 (5), thus reaching his first victory in the four meetings with Gulbis, reports Gol.hr on January 3, 2019. 

This win makes Karlović the oldest semifinalist in an ATP Tournament since Jimmy Connors, who achieved this feat at 41 years old in San Francisco back in 1993. It has taken 26 years for anyone to catch up to Connors. This milestone comes just three days after Karlović became the oldest player on the ATP ranking list and the third oldest year-end top 100 player in the Open era behind Ken Rosewall and Jimmy Connors, reports TennisWorldUSA.org

In Karlović’s third duel at this tournament, he did not allow his rival to deprive him of his serve, although Gulbis was a more significant threat than the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime and Russian Jevgeny Donska.

Gulbis had one chance to break in the first set and two more in the second set, but the 39-year-old ATP Tour veteran never disappointed. Gulbis managed to keep Karlović without any chance to break in this duel, but in both decisive games, he had to admit Karlović’s superiority. 

In the first set, Karlović led 4:1 and held the advantage with ease, while in the tie-break of the second set Gulbis led 5:3 – though that was before Karlović secured a string of four points and reached his first semifinal at an ATP tournament after last year’s tournament in Houston, where American Tennys Sandgren stopped him in the semifinals.

Against Gulbis, Karlović hit a high 72 percent of his first serves, 25 aces, and realized 85 percent of the first and 52 percent of the second serve.

The semifinals are scheduled on Friday, and Karlović will play against 34-year-old Belgian Steve Darcis, who defeated Tunisian Malek Jaziri with 7:5, 6:2.

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