Red Hot Karlovic Moves on to Second Consecutive ATP Final
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
WASHINGTON (July 23)–On a Saturday afternoon when the Washington area was gripped in the midst of its most severe heatwave in years, and local government was opening cooling centers for those without homes or air conditioning, thousands of D.C.-area residents descended on a sun-baked bowl with aluminum bleachers and very little cover for the wrath of nature’s harshest elements. They sat there in order to watch the men’s world #25 and #35 battle it out in their favorite sport.
Yeah, we’ve got issues.
It turns out last week’s defeat of the United States by Croatia in Davis Cup must have portended another Croatian victory over America here in Washington.
Ivo Karlovic hasn’t dropped serve in this tournament, and the Croatian looks to be in good form to try to win his second consecutive event after wrapping up the title in Newport last Sunday. He played a cool game on this hot day, staying in each point long enough to wait for a Johnson break in each set. Those breaks came early in the set, and Karlovic rode them out to a 6-4 count in each stanza. It was over at 1-1 in the second, when Karlovic won consecutive net points, shaking Johnson’s confidence. Karlovic took the last of the four break points in that game to close the door.
Karlovic, with his 14 aces today, moves on to the winner of tonight’s match between Sasha Zverev and Gael Monfils. Ivo will play in back-to-back ATP World Tour Finals for the first time in his career on Sunday. Monfils and Karlovic are 2-2 in ATP World Tour main draw play, but they haven’t met in over five years. Karlovic won his only match against Zverev in three sets on grass in Halle last year. Zverev is nearly half Karlovic’s age. I predict Zverev wins tonight, and we are treated to an epic inter-generational battle on Sunday afternoon.