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Karlovic Fires 44 Aces To Tie Record; Lajovic Earns Cilic Clash

Zagreb, Croatia

Karlovic© PBZ Zagreb IndoorsIvo Karlovic holds up the scorecard showing his 44-ace effort.

Ivo Karlovic tied Mark Philippoussis’s ATP World Tour record of 44 aces in a best-of-three sets match during his 6-7(4), 7-5, 7-6(3) win over Daniel Brands at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors on Tuesday. Philippoussis had set the mark in October 1995 in Kuala Lumpur, in the second round of his 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4 victory over Byron Black.

It marked the fourth time since 1991 that a player had hit at least 40 aces in a best-of-three sets match, all coming indoors, and the second time in Zagreb:

Tournament  Player Result-Opponent, Round
 Aces
2014 Zagreb (I) Ivo Karlovic d. Daniel Brands
67 75 76, 1R
44
1995 Kuala Lumpur (I) Mark Philippoussis d. Byron Black
67 62 64, 2R
44
2007 Lyon (I) Mardy Fish l. to Olivier Rochus
67 76 76, 2R
43
1997 Zagreb (I) Goran Ivanisevic d. Magnus Norman
76 67 75, 1R
40

The 6'11" Croat, who won 91 per cent of his first service points and did not face a break point, surpassed his personal-best 38 aces in a three-set match, registered against Tomas Berdych in 2007 at Basel. He also served highs of 55 aces against Lleyton Hewitt in 2009 at Roland Garros, and 78 against Radek Stepanek later that year in the Davis Cup semi-finals, in a match decided in a 16-14 fifth set.

Karlovic leads the ATP World Tour with eight career matches with 40 or more aces (not including Davis Cup):

Aces
Tournament Result-Opponent, Round
55
’09 Roland Garros l. to Lleyton Hewitt, 1R
51
’05 Wimbledon l. to Daniele Bracciali, 1R
48
’11 Australian Open l. to Ivan Dodig, 1R
47
’09 Wimbledon d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 3R
44
’14 Zagreb d. Daniel Brands, 1R
42
’08 US Open d. Florent Serra, 2R
41
’04 Wimbledon d. Gilles Elseneer, 2R
40
’04 Wimbledon d. Feliciano Lopez, 3R

Karlovic notched his second win of the season, after opening his 2014 campaign with an upset win over World No. 7 Tomas Berdych in Doha. Seven of his 11 sets this year have been decided in a tie-break.

He goes on to face countryman Ivan Dodig, the No. 4 seed and 2011 champion, for a second straight tournament and for a second straight year in the Zagreb second round. Dodig won their first-round match at the Australian Open last month to improve to a 3-0 lead in the FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Dodig also withstood 48 aces from Karlovic's racquet to record a first-round victory three years ago in Melbourne.

After impressing against Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka in Davis Cup action at the weekend, Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic earned a second-round clash with top seed Marin Cilic. World No. 101 Lajovic defeated qualifier Pedja Krstin 6-2, 6-3 in the first round.

The 23-year-old Lajovic made a good start to the season, reaching the second round of the Australian Open as a qualifier, seeing his run end against Kei Nishikori. He is playing in the Zagreb main draw for the second time.

Three-time champion Cilic took part in the traditional Champions Day in Zagreb on Tuesday, teaming up with 2008 winner Sergiy Stakhovsky to hit with all the semi-finalists from the junior competition (under-12 and under-14) of the Croatian National Championships. Fifth seed Cilic had opened his campaign with a straight-sets win on Monday.

Second seed Mikhail Youzhny will open his bid against Bjorn Phau after the German defeated Croatian wild card Ante Pavic 6-3, 6-4 in 66 minutes. World No. 14 Youzhny has a 12-4 record in Zagreb, lifting the trophy in 2012 (d. Lacko).

German qualifier Michael Berrer battled past 17-year-old Croatian wild card Borna Coric 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to reach the second round. Coric was playing just his second ATP World Tour match against the 33-year-old Berrer, who finished runner-up in Zagreb in 2010 (l. to Cilic) and 2011 (l. to Dodig). 

"I have to be honest, I underestimated him a little bit," admitted Berrer. "He was playing very well and he didn't make it easy for me. He was really taking my slice out of the game and had an answer for all of my shots. It was more of a physical thing today and I'm really happy that I survived."

Third Seeds Advance In Doubles
Third seeds Johan Brunstrom and Julian Knowle reached the Zagreb quarter-finals with a 6-2, 7-6(3) win over Dino Marcan and Nikola Mektic. They will play Marcelo Demoliner and Purav Raja, who defeated Frantisek Cermak and Mikhail Elgin 6-3, 6-4.

Fourth-seeded Croatians Marin Draganja and Mate Pavic also made a winning start, dismissing Jesse Huta Galung and Frank Moser 6-4, 6-4. They go on to face Jonathan Erlich and Lukas Rosol, who cruised past Tomasz Bednarek and Mateusz Kowalczyk 6-1, 6-4.

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