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By Nenad N. Bach | Published  08/31/2003 | Sports | Unrated


Croatian players had a great day

at the sold out 2003 US Open Tennis Tournament.

New York City - August 31, 2003

IVO KARLOVIC ranked 109 in the world played a very tough, very close match against number 12 ranked Sjeng Schalken from Nederlands. Losing in the tiebreaker 7-6 (8), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3). Schalken said, "I could not break him. I didn't know how. Karlovic has very good serve. He is doing very well, because he won 15 matches in a row, winning two challengers and coming out of qualifying into the Third Round of US Open. Karlovic has a very consistent serve, a killer serve at 135 mph. In all three tiebreakers it was 50/50 chance. This time it fell to me three times. I had a little stronger nerves maybe and also little bit of luck."

As for Ivo, as our people like to say "on se je borio krvavo!" with 25 aces against 2 from Schalken. "I was trying so hard. I gave everything I had from myself." said Karlovic. He received $65,000 prize money for reaching the Third Round. Playing on the Grandstand, their game was televised.

IVAN LJUBICIC and MARIO ANCIC won today in the Third Round in Men's Doubles beating Czech team of Luxa and Skoch. Ivan and Mario scored 5-7, 6-1, and 6-2. Their phenomenal success in Doubles means they are competing next in Quarterfinals.

Ancic, the tall, dark and handsome tennis player has a tremendous following among American kids, presumably future tennis champions. At the Open, girls and boys buy an oversize tennis ball and collect autographs of as many tennis players as they can.

Ljubicic received more support from Americans, who continue to call him "Ljubi", although the nickname "The Beast" also appeared in the press. After the continuing controversy of losing in a close match to Andy Roddick, the bitterly disappointed Ljubi now relies on his ever present girlfriend from Bosnia.

Fairly small, but deeply devoted Croatian fans are showing their colors with the Croatian flag, wild shirts and most of all, their heart. "I'm here every day with my family to show support for all Croatian players. When Ljubicic lost to Roddick in a 5-1 tiebreaker, I could not sleep all night," says a Dalmatinac now living on Long Island.

Today started US Open Junior Championships. Croatia has two 15 year old representatives:

NADA PAVIC ranked 14 among Junior Girls Singles won easily in the 1st round 6-0, 6-3 against Yung-Jan Chan. Nada is from Split.

SANJA ANCIC also won 3-6, 6-4, and 6-4 against Alexandra Mueller USA. Looking pretty in red and black outfit, she is the younger sister of Mario Ancic.
The ANCIC parents from Split, Stipe and Nilda, sitting in the shade watching Mario and Sanja win, were smiling widely all day long. The enormous expense for the private tennis lessons for their 2 children is finally paying off!

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