Roland Garros: Ivo Karlović Celebrates in ‘Oldest’ Game of Grand Slam Tournament

Daniela Rogulj

Croatian tennis player Ivo Karlović joins Čilić, Ćorić, Martić, and Vekić in the 2nd round of Roland Garros after celebrating in the oldest duel in the history of the Grand Slam tournament in Paris. The 40-year-old Karlović defeated 37-year-old Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (4), 7- 7 (7), 7-5 after three hours and six minutes of play, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on May 28, 2019. 

Karlović and Lopez played an excellent match in which Croatia’s veteran played better for the most critical points and achieved his eighth victory in their twelfth encounter.

Although Lopez consistently threatened Karlović’s service in the first set, at 0-30 twice, and once at 15-30, he did not have a single break point, while Karlović won only five points in six of Lopez’s service games. In the decisive game, Karlović had his chance, and Karlović won the only point that went against the server in the tie-break. 

In the first part of the second set, Lopez was still the better player, and at 2-2 and 3-3 he had two breaks, though he missed the latter, which ultimately cost him the game. At 6-5, Karlović reached his first two break points in the match, while Lopez sent a forehand out to give Karlović the 2-0 lead in the sets.

During the third set, both players kept their first strike and left the excitement for a tie-break in which Karlović missed two match points before Lopez used his first set point. After Lopez missed a volley at 5-5 and offered Karlović a match point, it seemed that the end of the match was near, but for the next point, the Spaniard hit a backhand to return and had an 8-7 advantage.

In the sixth game of the fourth set, Lopez finally managed to take Karlović’s lead, confirmed the break and lead 5-3 – and it seemed that the winner would be decided in the fifth set. But Karlović disagreed with that scenario, and at 5-3 he returned the break, leaving Lopez without a point, and then once again took the Spaniard’s service for 6-5 and serves for the match. Not even the last game could pass without drama – Lopez reached a break point only to have Karlović hit two aces in a row. Karlović realized his third match point. 

Ivo Karlović will play against Australian Jordon Thompson in the 2nd round of Roland Garros. Interestingly, Karlović and Thompson played each other in Roland Garros two years ago, and Karlović won 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 12-10.

Thus, Karlović is the oldest male player to win a match at Roland Garros in 45 years. He is also the oldest to win a Grand Slam game since Ken Rosewall in 1978 at the Australian Open. 

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