Mon, Jul 18, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Karlovic hopes it is third time lucky in Newport

AP, NEWPORT, Rhode Island

Albert Ramos-Vinolas returns to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in their Swedish Open semi-final in Bastad, Sweden, on Saturday.

Photo: EPA

Second seed Ivo Karlovic had a simple answer this week when asked if he could finally win a championship on Newport’s grass courts.

“If not now, when?” the 37-year-old Karlovic replied.

He does get his third chance.

Ivo Karlovic of Croatia and third seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg advanced to the final of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championship on Saturday.

Karlovic reached his third consecutive final on Newport’s grass courts, beating fourth seed Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (8/6).

“It’s really nice that I am here again in this situation,” Karlovic said. “Hopefully, God will be on my side and I will be able to do it this year.”

Karlovic lost in the final the previous two years in the tournament held on the grounds of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He was seeking his seventh career ATP Tour title.

In the first semi-final, Muller served 18 aces and won 97 percent of his first-serve points in a 6-3, 6-4 victory over eighth seed Donald Young. Muller was looking for his first ATP Tour title.

Muller was 0-3 in his career in Newport before this week, losing in 2006, 2008 and 2012. After 2012, he decided to skip the event, but changed his mind, looking for more matches to get ready for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next month.

“I didn’t win matches here, so I told myself I’m not making the trip here,” the 33-year-old said. “This year, because of the Olympics, I wanted to play more before the Olympics and I said: ‘OK. Let’s go for it.’ It was the right choice.”

The matches followed an hour-long induction ceremony into the Hall of Fame. Marat Safin and Justine Henin headed this year’s class.

SWEDISH OPEN

AP, BASTAD, Sweden

Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Fernando Verdasco set up an all-Spanish final for the Swedish Open title on Saturday.

Third seed Ramos-Vinolas secured his first ATP Tour final by knocking out top seed David Ferrer 7-5, 6-4 in the semi-finals.

Ramos-Vinolas had lost all of his six previous matches to Ferrer, a two-time Swedish Open champion.

“I’m extremely happy, I’ve just beaten a fantastic player,” Ramos-Vinolas said. “I had to keep fighting hard all the way through. In the end, luck was on my side.”

Fifth seed Verdasco, the runner-up in 2013, eased past first-time semi-finalist Gastao Elias of Portugal 6-3, 6-1.

Verdasco has a 3-1 record against Ramos-Vinolas, including a win in Bastad in 2014. Verdasco won his seventh and most recent title in Bucharest in April.

GERMAN OPEN

AP, HAMBURG, Germany

Third seed Pablo Cuevas and seventh seed Martin Klizan were due to contest the German Open final yesterday.

Cuevas defeated Renzo Olivio of Argentina 7-5, 6-3 after double-faulting on his first match point. Olivio was in his first ATP Tour semi-final.

Klizan beat Stephane Robert of France 6-3, 6-4, the Slovak winning the final five games.

Cuevas is looking for his third title of the year after winning back-to-back titles in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in February. That month, Klizan won in Rotterdam.

Klizan has a 4-0 record in ATP Tour finals.

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