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Karlovic Ousted By Defending Champion; Ancic Eases Into QFS

Zagreb, Croatia

Mario AncicPBZ Zagreb IndoorsMario Ancic in Zagreb

Third seed Ivo Karlovic made a second round exit at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors on Thursday as defending champion Sergiy Stakhovsky battled to defeat the Croatian 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 at the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament.

Despite 12 aces and a first serve conversion rate of 84 per cent, the 25th-ranked Karlovic was broken twice in the 92-minute match. The 2006 quarter-finalist (l. to Koubek) slipped to a 3-4 record for the season.

World No. 82 Stakhovsky became the first lucky loser to win an ATP World Tour title since Christian Miniussi in November 1991 when he won his first title in Zagreb last year, defeating home favourite Ivan Ljubicic in the final. The Kiev native is through to his second quarter-final of the season on the ATP World Tour after reaching the last eight in Doha (l. to Murray) in the first week of the season.

Fourth seed Paul-Henri Mathieu also suffered a surprise second round loss as World No. 78 Jan Hernych rallied from a set down to oust the Frenchman 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-2. The 34th-ranked Mathieu suffered through his failure to convert on five of the six break point chances he created, while Hernych capitalised on four of his eight opportunities to record his first victory in three meetings over Mathieu.

Hernych of the Czech Republic won his first match of the 2009 ATP World Tour with his round one victory over Croatian wild card Nikola Mektic. The 29-year-old Prague native had lost in the first round of Doha and the Australian Open.

Hernych next will face German Mischa Zverev, who saved five match points as he battled to defeat Romania’s Victor Hanescu 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(7). World No. 79 Zverev, who defeated sixth seed Andreas Seppi in the first round, had lost in the first round on his one previous visit to Zagreb in 2008 (l. to Tipsarevic). The 21 year old is through to his first ATP World Tour quarter-final since October 2008, when he lost to Andrey Golubev at St. Petersburg.

After coming through a challenging first round match, Croatian No. 7 seed Mario Ancic (pictured) welcomed a 6-1, 6-1 win over Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals. The former Top 10 player converted five of his nine break point chances and won 17 of 22 points on Gabashvili’s second serve to secure the win in 67 minutes.

The 24-year-old Split native reached the semi-finals last year at his home country tournament before falling to compatriot Ivan Ljubicic. His only other loss in Zagreb came to another Croatian player, Karlovic, in the 2006 second round.  Ancic, a quarter-finalist this season at the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Sydney (l. to Djokovic), next faces Croatian qualifier Ivan Dodig, who continued his surprise run by knocking out Latvian Ernests Gulbis 7-6(3), 6-4.

World No. 425 Dodig, who lost in qualifying at last year’s event, stunned top seed Igor Andreev in the first round as he won his career first ATP World Tour match. The 23 year old is playing in his first ATP World Tour tennis tournament since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Marseille first round last February. Dodig hails from Medjugorje, the same town as No. 2 seed and fellow quarter-finalist Marin Cilic.

 

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