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Ace-king Karlovic pounds out third title of season in Stockholm
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  10/15/2007 | Sports , Awards | Unrated
Ace-king Karlovic pounds out third title of season in Stockholm

Croatian pride Ivo Karlovic

Ivo Karlovic of Croatia holds the trophy after defeating Thomas Johansson of Sweden in the men's final at ATP Stockholm Open tennis tournament October 14, 2007. REUTERS/Soeren Andersson/Scanpix

Ace-king Karlovic pounds out third title of season in Stockholm

Seventh seed Ivo Karlovic won his third ATP title of 2007 with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Thomas Johansson. He hit 27 aces today, and 106 in four completed matches throughout the tournament. 

Karlovic has hit 1,108 aces so far this year, the third-highest tally in ATP history; Goran Ivanesvic holds the No. 1 (1,477) and No. 2 (1,169) tallies of all time, set in 1996 and 1994, respectively.

The 2.08-metres seventh seed, who has shown this week that he has more qualities to his game than his thunderous serving, is now the only player alongside world number one Roger Federer to have won titles on three different surfaces this year.

Posted : Sun, 14 Oct 2007 Author : DPA 

Stockholm - Croatian Ivo Karlovic fired 27 aces to lift his third title of the season on a different surface as he won the indoor Stockholm Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 defeat of two-time champion Thomas Johansson on Sunday. Karlovic, the tallest man in the game, ran his ace total for this season to 1,135. He is chasing the all-time 1,477 from Goran Ivanisevic 11 years ago.

Along with impeccable Roger Federer, Karlovic is the only other play in the ATP to own titles on three contrasting surfaces during the campaign.

The Croatian won Houston on clay in April and picked up a grass honour at Nottingham two months later.

Johansson was unable to compete in a runaway third set after levelling at one apiece against the huge hitter, who went through in just under 90 minutes.

The 55th-ranked Swede won the event in 2000 and 2004 before two titles in succession from American James Blake.

But Johansson ended Blake's winning run in the semi-finals at the weekend, saving five match points to reach the title match leaving the American 13-1 at the venue.

Karlovic has played four of his five career finals during this season and has risen to number 25 after flirting with a fall from the Top 100 early in the spring.

Neither man figures in the chase for next month's eight-man Masters Cup in Shanghai.


Tennis-Karlovic trounces Johansson in Stockholm for third title

Sun Oct 14, 2007
By Oliver Grassman

STOCKHOLM, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Croat Ivo Karlovic blasted 27 aces past Swede Thomas Johansson to win the Stockholm Open 6-3 3-6 6-1 on Sunday, taking his third title of the year on a third surface.

The 2.08-metres seventh seed, who has shown this week that he has more qualities to his game than his thunderous serving, is now the only player alongside world number one Roger Federer to have won titles on three different surfaces this year.

The 28-year-old won Houston's claycourt tournament in April and then on grass in Nottingham in June. The Stockholm Open is played on an indoor hardcourt surface.

With the win Karlovic also became one of six players this year with three or more titles.

Johansson, a winner here in 2000 and 2004, was broken to 4-2 by Karlovic who went on to serve home the set with an ace to wrap it up.

The Swede finally produced some decent returns in the next set as he broke the Croat to 2-0, and managed to hold serve throughout the set. Leading 5-3, the Swede saved a break point at 30-40 and went on to clinch the set with an ace.

In the decider, Johansson ran out of steam when the Croat broke his opening serve game to 2-0, and allowed Karlovic to take the next four of the five games for the match.

Ivo Karlovic beats Thomas Johansson in Stockholm Open final

October 14, 2007

STOCKHOLM, Sweden: Big-serving Ivo Karlovic defeated Thomas Johansson 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 Sunday to win the Stockholm Open for his third career ATP title.

After splitting the first two sets on the Royal Tennis Hall's hard court, Karlovic broke the unseeded Swede to lead 2-0 when Johansson netted the Croat's hard forehand return. Karlovic broke again to take a 4-0 lead.

Karlovic, at 2.08 meters (6-foot-10) the tallest player on the ATP tour, had 27 aces for a tour-leading 1,135 this year. Goran Ivanisevic set the record in 1996 with 1,477 aces.

With the win, the seventh-seeded Karlovic joined top-ranked Roger Federer as the only players to win singles titles on three different surfaces this year.

Karlovic won his first two ATP titles this year at Houston (clay) and Nottingham (grass) and earned a career-high ranking of No. 25 this week.

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 The tournament is in its 39th year and is one of the oldest indoor events on the ATP Tour.

Saturday Report 

Karlovic Chasing Third Title of 2007 in Stockholm Final

© Patrick Pfenninger
6' 10'' Croatian Ivo Karlovic is one win away from his third title of the year after upsetting Tennis Masters Cup hopeful Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-3 to reach the If Stockholm Open final. Karlovic fired 15 aces, including four consecutive aces to close out the match after having been 0/40 down earlier in the final game.

Karlovic will play 2002 Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson, who saved five match points to defeat James Blake 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(3). Johansson is chasing a third Stockholm Open title, having won previously in 2000 and 2004. (He also was the beaten finalist in 1998.)

Karlovic, who has won titles in Houston and Nottingham in 2007, is already at a career-high No. 25 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings and will be knocking on the door of the Top 20 should he win the title.

Karlovic said: "I was playing really well. I was serving well and returning well when I needed it. I'm happy." On serving out the match with four aces, he said: "It's good to know I have it in a critical moment."

Despite the loss, Haas will climb to 8th from 12th in the ATP 2007 Race, boosting his chances of qualifying for Shanghai.

Johansson will play for his 10th ATP title and first since St. Petersburg two years ago. The 32-year-old Swede lost 7-5 in the third set to Karlovic at New Haven one week before the US Open when the Croat hammered 24 aces. (See Johansson-Karlovic career head-to-head)

In Saturday's semifinal against Blake, Johansson saved his first match point serving at 4-5, 30/40 in the third set. He was down triple match point in his next service game at 5-6, 0/40 and also saved a fifth match point in the same game to take the match to a tie-break.

"At 0/40 down you know that if you can hit three good first serves that there is a pretty good chance that you can get back to deuce. So you just try to focus on your serve," Johansson said. "It's not everyday you turn around a match from five match points down, especially against a player like James. I'm extremely happy to go through this one.

"To play Ivo the most important thing is to enjoy it, because you can go a couple of games without touching the ball. You know what to expect. Try to get as many balls back on his serve as possible and then stay aggressive on your own service game."

Johansson Stops Blake, Dr. Ivo Awaits in Stockholm Final

Posted on October 14, 2007

Upset artists Thomas Johansson and Ivo Karlovic will do battle Sunday for the If Stockholm Open title, after both pulled off surprises in Saturdays semifinals, taking out the tournaments two highest seeds. 

Johansson is playing his 14th ATP final, going 9-4 in his first 13. He is 2-1 in finals on indoor hardcourts, all three of those coming at this event (finishing runner-up in 1998 then winning titles in 2000 and 2004).

Prior to this week, Johansson had only made one quarterfinal this year at Zagreb (falling to Ivan Ljubicic).

Johansson has now reached at least one ATP final in 10 of the last 11 seasons (2003 is the exception).

With his four wins this week, including third set tie-break wins over Mario Ancic in the quarterfinals and top seed James Blake in the semifinals (saving five match points), Johansson is now 24-11 in Stockholm, winning two of his nine ATP titles here (in 2000 and 2004, beating former No. 1s Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Andre Agassi in those finals). He also reached another final in 1998 (falling to Todd Martin in three sets).

With his win over World No. 7 Blake, Johansson improved to 23-60 lifetime in completed matches against Top 10 players, and is now 5-3 at this event. He also evened his head-to-head against Blake to 2-2. That win also ruined Blakes perfect record here (the American was 13-0 here heading into the semifinals).

Karlovic is playing his fifth ATP final, having reached just one prior to this year (finishing runner-up at Queens Club in 2005) and now moving into his fourth of the year, having won his first two ATP singles titles at Houston (clay) and Nottingham (grass) and finishing runner-up at San Jose (indoor hardcourts).

Karlovic has never been ranked higher than now at No. 25. He started the year at No. 98 and dipped out of the Top 100 for eight weeks in the spring, but has shot up, passing his previous career-high of No. 48.

With his three wins this week (he received a walkover from flu-ridden wild card Joachim Johansson in the second round and upset No. 4 seed Tommy Haas in the semifinals), Karlovic has improved to 3-1 lifetime in Stockholm, having fallen first round a year ago in his only previous attempt (to Ancic in straight sets).

Karlovic has hit 1,108 aces so far this year, the third-highest tally in ATP history; Goran Ivanesvic holds the No. 1 (1,477) and No. 2 (1,169) tallies of all time, set in 1996 and 1994, respectively.

Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi face Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra in Sundays doubles final.

Bjorkman and Mirnyi have won 10 ATP doubles titles together: two Grand Slams (Roland Garros in 2005 and 2006), a Tennis Masters Cup (2006), six ATP Masters Series titles (Miami, Hamburg and Cincinnati in 2005 and Miami, Monte-Carlo and Cincinnati in 2006) and finally Doha (2006). But they have only been to one final so far this year, finishing runners-up at the Australian Open (to the Bryan brothers).

Clement and Llodra have won five ATP doubles titles together, most notably Wimbledon earlier this year. Their other titles came at St. Petersburg in 2004, AMS Paris last year and Marseille and Metz this year. (ATP Digital Services)

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