Ivo Karlović Does it Again, Becomes Oldest ATP Finalist Since 1977!

Daniela Rogulj

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Ivo Karlović started the new season with yet another memorable achievement!

Just one month before his 40th birthday, Ivo Karlović has come to his 19th career final at ATP tournaments, after winning the Tata Open semifinal in Pune, India against 34-year-old Belgian player Steve Darcis 7:6 (3), 4:6, 6:3. On Saturday, Karlović will fight for his ninth ATP title, reports Gol.hr January 4, 2019. 

In Karlović’s second win in his second match against Darcis, which took one hour and 55 minutes, he ended with 33 aces and became the first tennis player in history to hit more than 13,000 aces in his career. He also became the oldest finalist of an ATP tournament since 1977 when the legendary Australian player Ken Rosewall won the Hong Kong tournament as a 43-year-old.

Karlović had excellent service and already in the middle of the first set he had his ninth ace of the match. By the end of the first set, Karlović had collected 17 aces, which was one of the main reasons why Darcis was left without a chance to break in the first set.

The Belgian should be pleased to have reached a tie-break, as he had to save three of Karlović’s chances to take his service to get there. He saved one at 2:2, and at 3:3 when Karlović had 15:40. Darcis saved one with a good backhand, and the second when Karlović missed a forehand.

In the tie-break, it was equal at 2:2, though Karlović sealed four points and realized his second set-point to win the first set. 

At the start of the second set, Karlović had to save the first break-point of the match and did well at covering the net. In the next game, he missed the fourth chance to break and lead 2-0 in the second set, and in the seventh game, Karlović lost his service for the first time this tournament. 

Darcis began to return better and made it more and more difficult for the Croatian veteran to break. Karlović attacked well with his second serve, but Darcis defended the high and deep lobs. Darcis gained the advantage and took the match to the third set.

Karlović’s decisive set opened with four consecutive aces which sent a message to Darcis that he would have to make a great effort to come back. When Karlović arrived at 0:40 in the fourth game and realized his second of three break opportunities, Karlović made a big step towards his first ATP final after Hertogenbosch in 2017.

Darcis did not get a chance to return. After his excellent first service, Karlović scored a forehand for the match-point and the ATP final. 

Karlović will play against the winner of the duo between Gilles Simon and Kevin Anderson, which is a replay of last year’s final in Pune.

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