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Karlovic, Sela Hug It Out In Bogota

Bogota, Colombia

Sela, Karlovic© Claro Open ColombiaDudi Sela needs a boost to hug Ivo Karlovic.

Ivo Karlovic began his title defence Thursday at the Claro Open Colombia in Bogota with a 7-6(8), 7-6(5) win over Dudi Sela, and afterwards received an unexpected hug from his opponent.

Instead of going straight to the net for the customary handshake after the one hour, 40-minute contest, the 5’9” Sela instead took a detour to the side of the court. 

“After I won, I was going to the net to have a handshake and then I look at him and he’s going back to get a chair,” said Karlovic. “I didn’t know what he was going to do and then he arrives and he gives me a hug, which was unbelievable and hilarious. Obviously he needed a hug, so I hugged him back.

“He’s a really nice guy and I like him a lot. It was funny.”

Sela, who lost to the 6’11” Croat for a second straight week and sixth time overall in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, was pleased with his effort in the match and called it an opportune time to give Karlovic a hug on court.

Watch The Hug

“I played five times with him and today I didn’t play bad,” he explained. “It was one point here or there, it was 7-6, 7-6, so to finish like this I didn’t mind. Some matches you feel very upset after the loss; I was okay with the loss. I played okay, he played better than me in the big points so I said it’s going to be okay and I accepted this.

“We’re good friends and I really like him, he’s a very nice guy. I always wanted to hug him, but I didn’t have the chance, and today I think was a good moment. I saw the chair and I thought it would be nice to finish the match like this with a hug, so the crowd will see it’s okay.”

He added, “I felt good with myself. Suddenly I felt 211 [cm] like him... I think I was [still] shorter than him. It was funny.”

Sela saved all seven break points faced during the match, while Karlovic fired 16 aces and won 80 per cent of his service points. Karlovic won four more points than the Israeli – 85 to 81.

The second seed will next meet Chinese Taipei’s Jimmy Wang, who advanced to his first ATP World Tour quarter-final in almost seven years earlier Thursday. Wang knocked out qualifier James Ward 6-3, 6-1 in just 49 minutes. The 29 year old previously reached the last eight in October 2007 at the Thailand Open in Bangkok (l. to Tursunov).

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