Mon, Jun 25, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Karlovic walks tall after winning in Nottingham


The 2.08m Ivo Karlovic, left, holds the winners' trophy after beating Arnaud Clement, right, at the Nottingham Open in England on Saturday.


Unseeded Ivo Karlovic beat eighth seed Arnaud Clement 3-6 6-4 6-4 in the final of the Nottingham Open on Saturday to earn the second title of his career.

Karlovic won his first title on grass ahead of Wimbledon, which starts today. In April, the 29-year-old Croat won his first ATP tour title in Houston on clay.

"To tell the truth I didn't really expect to win," Karlovic said. "I came here to play a few matches, I was the last player in the draw."

"I was injured last year for six months and I did not really have very good preparations for this year but so far it is my best year," he said.

Clement had played two matches on Friday -- defeating top-seeded Richard Gasquet, then Jonas Bjorkman -- on an indoor hardcourt because of rain.

His tiredness showed in the second set, when he saved three set points before Karlovic's passing shot forced a deciding set. Karlovic made the decisive break of serve in the 10th game of the final set.

One of Karlovic's 21 aces of the match was clocked at 246kph in the seventh game of the second set. That's only 3.2kph slower than the world record set by Andy Roddick in 2004.

Clement and Karlovic had met three times before, with the Frenchman victorious both times on grass -- in the quarter-finals at Queen's 10 days ago, and also in the first round at Den Bosch, Netherlands, in 2004.

Karlovic faces another Frenchman, Fabrice Santoro, in the first round at Wimbledon.

"I play Santoro in the first round, which is a difficult match for me because he plays similar to Arnaud ... But hopefully I'll go far," Karlovic said.

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