The third time was the charm for Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who lifted the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships title at last on Sunday with a 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (14/12) victory over Gilles Muller.
In his third straight appearance in the final on the grass courts in Newport, Rhode Island, 37-year-old Karlovic grabbed his seventh ATP Tour title and at 37 became the oldest winner in the tournament’s history.
He is the oldest ATP Tour singles champion since Marty Riessen in 1979.
“After all these years when I was losing in the final and now I was finally able to do it, and I was down a match point. That makes it even nicer,” Karlovic said.
Karlovic’s usual monster serve again made the difference. The former world No. 44 fired 27 aces and won almost 90 percent of his first-serve points, but both he and Muller began the match battling nerves.
Karlovic, who had been broken once in Newport heading into the final dropped his first service game. Muller then held to lead 3-0, but Karlovic broke back to set the course for what would be the first of three tiebreakers.
Neither player mustered a break point in the third set. Muller earned the first match point at 6-5 in the tiebreaker, but could not convert.
Muller saved four match points on his own serve, but Karlovic gave himself a fifth chance on his serve and made no mistake — denying the 33-year-old a first career ATP Tour title.
The 33-year-old from Luxembourg is 0-5 in finals.
AP, BASTAD, Sweden
Albert Ramos-Vinolas won his first career ATP Tour title after beating Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4 in the Swedish Open final on Sunday.
Third seed Ramos-Vinolas broke his fellow Spaniard’s serve early in the first set.
Fifth seed Verdasco, runner-up in 2013, had not lost a single set in the tournament, but appeared nervous and made several mistakes.
“It feels fantastic to take my first title,” said Ramos-Vinolas, who received the trophy from Swedish great Bjorn Borg. “I thought I’d never have a chance to win a tournament because I’ve played badly in the past three years, but I think I’ve played some great tennis this year.”
AP, HAMBURG, Germany
Martin Klizan beat Pablo Cuevas 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday to win the German Open for his second ATP Tour title of the year.
Third seed Cuevas had not lost a set in Hamburg before the final and had not dropped his serve, but seventh seed Klizan rolled through the first set and took 84 percent of his first-serve points to seal his second title of the year after Rotterdam in February.
Klizan has now won all five finals he has played on the ATP Tour.
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