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Kudla Wakes Up In Time To Beat Karlovic

Newport, U.S.A.

Kudla © Mike BazEighteen-year-old Denis Kudla notched his second tour-level win in Newport.

American teenager Denis Kudla earned his second match win on the ATP World Tour, knocking out Croatian Ivo Karlovic 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4 on Tuesday at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

Karlovic served 24 aces during the two-hour, nine-minute match to take his season total to 454, but also committed seven doubles faults and dropped serve twice.

Kudla admitted he almost didn’t make it to the match, however, when his alarm clock malfunctioned – causing him to wake up just 45 minutes before the 11 o’clock start time. “My alarm clock was supposed to go off at 8am, but I woke up at 10:15,” he said. “ I was freaking out, having to take a two-minute shower, brush my teeth really quick, and run out with no breakfast.” (Hear more about Kudla’s hectic morning in this interview)

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Kudla, who recorded his first tour-level victory last year at this tournament, asserted he had more confidence on his second visit to Newport after practising with other pros and seeing the success of fellow 18-year-old Ryan Harrison.

“We’re the same age and those same guys are at the top,” stated Kudla, currently at a career-high No. 394 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings. “I don’t think that their game is so much better than mine, but I do think their mentality is they really believe they can beat everybody and that’s what I feel like I’m getting slowly right now.

“Coming into the tournament last year I was just glad to be on the court. I got a match. I didn’t care about my second round. This year, anything short of winning would be okay – final, semis – but I really do believe I can win the tournament now.”

Qualifier Jimmy Wang also scored an upset Tuesday, breaking third-seeded Russian Igor Kunitsyn seven times en route to a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory. Wang, a former World No. 85, had not won a match in ATP World Tour main draw action since reaching the Bangkok quarter-finals in 2007.

Two other seeded players fell in their first-round matches. American Ryan Sweeting, the No. 4 seed, lost to Australian Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-2, while seventh-seeded German Michael Berrer lost to former World No. 2 Tommy Haas 7-6(9), 6-4. It marked the first win of Haas’s comeback from hip surgery. The 33 year old returned to tour-level action in April following a 14-month absence.

German No. 8 seed Tobias Kamke, the 2010 ATP World Tour Newcomer of the Year, made his way safely through to the second round with a 7-6(3), 6-3 win over Great Britain’s Alex Bogdanovic. Kamke converted on all four of his break points, while saving 11 of the 14 faced on serve.

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