We’re in qualies yet again: Ivo’s ranking is still only 852. This time we’ve got yet another defender with nothing to speak of but groundies in the 30s, Mario Rincon (COL). We’ll have to wait to see who’s able to give Ivo trouble here, but it’s not gonna be Rincon.Ivo Karlovic (CRO) def. Mario Rincon (COL) 6-2 6-1
Rincon had stretches near the end of each set where he played well, but for the most part it was all Ivo. Rincon wasn’t able to get it past Ivo, even from the baseline.
Next up is Egor Puntus (BLR), a defender who’s even worse than the aforementioned 30-groundie droves. This guy has groundies in the 20s, although his speed and stamina are a little bit better than some. Oh well, he’s no threat to Ivo.Ivo Karlovic (CRO) def. Egor Puntus (BLR) 6-1 6-1
Puntus never had a shot. Ivo was absolutely dominant on serve, and a few errors on the return games were the only reason why it wasn’t a double bagel.
Ivo now faces yet another defender, Carlos Salamanca (COL). Salamanca has a forehand in the 50s and a backhand in the 40s, so he should be a little more difficult. Ivo should still have the upper hand though.Ivo Karlovic (CRO) def. Carlos Salamanca (COL) 6-0 6-4
The first set went by in a flash, but the second was more difficult. Strangely enough, Ivo had a lot of success defending from the back of the court and waiting for an opportunity to come in. Qualifying just doesn’t seem to be much of a problem anymore. It’s what Ivo does in the main draw that matters.
Well, we’ve drawn the first seed in the first round, Thomas Schiessling (AUT). Schiessling’s yet another defender that’s only a little bit better than Salamanca in every aspect of his game. This should be a good matchup for Ivo, but I fear a repeat of what happened with Hui last week.Ivo Karlovic(CRO) def. Thomas Schiessling (AUT) 6-4 7-6(4)
This was a very good match. Ivo had some problems getting into it at first and lost his first two service games. But then he came back and broke Schiessling 3 out of 4 service games to take the set. The second was like one of the real Ivo’s matches. There were a couple chances to break, but no one took them. In the tiebreak, there was only one minibreak, which went Ivo’s way. Schiessling proved to be a tough customer, but not too tough for the big man.
Next up is Robert Farah, yet another Colombian defender, the third one this tournament! Has JHON-DIM taken over world tour or what? This guy’s a member of the 30s groundies droves. And yet, he served a double bagel in his first round match. Something doesn’t add up, but I’ll still take Ivo in the end.Ivo Karlovic (CRO) def. Robert Farah (COL) 6-4 6-4
Farah never let Ivo out of his sights, but he couldn’t ever pull ahead. In both sets, Ivo broke Farah in the first game of the set. In the first set, he held 5 times to close it out, but in the second, he was broken right back. However, Ivo went ahead again in the second at 2-2, and he never looked back after that. Farah hit a lot of amazing passing shots, and so it was hard to get into a rhythm.
Finally, someone other than a defender! In the quarters, Ivo’s meeting a fellow qualifier and fellow volleyer, Marc Kimmich (AUS). Kimmich has virtually every stat in the 30s, which probably isn’t the best thing for someone with his style. I think Ivo will get through this one easier than the last couple matches. Ivo Karlovic (CRO) def. Marc Kimmich (AUS) 6-0 6-1
Ivo was on top of Kimmich’s every move. He won points from the net and the baseline. This is the fewest number of games Ivo’s lost in any match so far. Needless to say, it was an easy match.
In the semis we’re up against another volleyer. But Igor Kornienko (RUS) should actually be good at volleying, as his net skills are in the 60s and his serve’s in the 40s. Kornienko’s also a lefty, which hasn’t meant good things for the big man in the past. Still, I have to like Ivo’s chances.Ivo Karlovic (CRO) def. Igor Kornienko (RUS) 6-3 6-2
It was hard at first to get anything going on Kornienko’s serve, but that became easier as the match wore on. Ivo broke him in the last two service games of the first set and kept the momentum going into the second. On his own serve, Ivo had no problems at all, never facing a break point. The fact that Kornienko’s passes weren’t too good helped too. Ivo’s into his first final! Hopefully he’ll take it so we can get going into challengers!
Our opponent in the final is Robbie Koenig (RSA). LOL!!! Koenig is one of the commentators for the Tennis Channel, which broadcasts a lot of the smaller events here in the US. Strange, Koenig isn’t black . . . oh well, I’m pretty sure he was a volleyer. Koenig’s net skills are in the 70s, so that should make him a bit difficult to play. His serve precision is at 80, which won’t make matters any easier. And for variety’s sake, Koenig’s lob is in the high 60s, which should make it more difficult for Ivo to play his game. It should be an interesting match, but because Koenig is a volleyer, I’m going to pick Ivo to win his first title (back off Koenig, you’re a doubles specialist!).
Koenig’s service games strangely weren’t two difficult to get into. Ivo broke him 3 times in the first set alone. However, his passes (especially his lobs) were decent, and he was able to break Ivo back twice. Not that it mattered. Ivo still took the set 6-4.
In the second set, Ivo kept it up, putting even more pressure on Koenig’s serve and holding his own much easier. He was able to jump out to a big lead early in the set and never looked back. Koenig might not have been a worthy opponent for the final after all. Ivo Karlovic (CRO) def. Robbie Koenig (RSA) 6-4 6-0
Ivo’s done it! He’s won his first title, albeit only a futures! Hopefully this means bigger and better things in the near future.