Karlovic’s Oz Open ace record
IVO KARLOVIC fired down 75 aces in a record Australian Open marathon against Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos which lasted five hours, 15 minutes and finished in a 6-7(6), 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 22-20 first-round victory for the Croatian yesterday.
The 37-yearold 20th seed threw his hands in the air in delight after Zeballos ballooned an attempted lob high into the night sky to finally bring an end to the gruelling 157-minute fifth set.
Karlovic, embraced his exhausted opponent then exchanged high fives with a large part of the crowd which had stuck with the contest from its start in the afternoon sun to the finish under the low wattage lights on the tiny Court 19.
With all the other matches on the outer courts long finished, a carnival atmosphere had developed as the two players tried and failed to break each other’s serve in the final set.
Organisers sent ballboys running off to get more energy drinks as the marathon continued with the gloom punctuated occasionally by fireworks set off at a match at the neighbouring Melbourne Cricket Ground.
“I was just trying to hang in there, just point by point,” said Karlovic.
“(I had energy drink) gatorades and water, I don’t know. I began really bad. As the match was going on, it was little less hot also.”
Karlovic’s ace total was an Australian Open record for a match and he flung down 38 in the final set alone.
Zeballos chipped in with 33 in the match and 15 in the last stanza. The break point Karlovic converted was only the fourth in the 42 games in the deciding set, with long rallies at a premium as the serves continued to thwack into the back fence at both ends.
Despite its length, the contest was still 38 minutes shy of the record for the longest match at the Australian Open – the 2012 final between Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal having gone five hours and 53 minutes. – Reuters