The Croatian Ivo Karlovic beat Spanish player Roberto Bautista 7-6 (4), 6-7 (9), 7-6 (7) in the longest match so far in the competition at three hours and one minute. With his venomous serve, Karlovic produced 35 aces compared to Bautista’s six, but the player from Castellon certainly made things difficult for his opponent, who needed seven match points to seal victory. The win means that Karlovic is through to the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open after more than 180 minutes of thrilling tennis in the Manolo Santana Stadium.
At the end of the tie, the Spanish player appeared before the media in the press conference room. “I have played a lot of matches with a lot of chances but none have ever been as crazy as today’s. There were so many chances for both of us, but it is a toss of a coin and it fell in his favour”. Bautista recognized that he knew he was facing a great player. “I already knew it would be tough and that the scores would be close. I did everything I could. I didn’t deserve to lose this match”.
The physical presence of the Croat also worked significantly against the Spaniard, as well as his powerful serve. “When you play against a player that tall you have to compensate with other things… with determination, movement, returns. It’s clear that nobody, or almost nobody has a serve like Karlovic, but all the players up there are good. If they’re not good at serving, they’re good a returning… each one is good at some facet”. Regarding Karlovic’s intimidating serve and the aforementioned 35 aces, Bautista spoke about the changes currently occurring in tennis: “It is getting increasingly quick and you don’t get the rallies you used to. It’s clear that there are a lot of people up there who are there because of their serve, because it has helped them a lot”.
Finally, the Spanish player discussed the conditions in which the match was played. “Playing Karlovic in slower conditions would have been better, but we are in Madrid. I love this tournament and I adapt very well to the court conditions, but this year, unfortunately, I was unable to get through the first round”. He admitted to being frustrated about it but he feels optimistic about the rest of the year. “This result does not reflect how well I am playing, but I have to keep working. Maybe because of my standard of tennis this year, this result could be considered a blip. The season is not just one tournament and I will have the chance to evaluate this stumbling block. Nobody likes losing and I am annoyed because I also lost at home”.
Ivo Karlovic will meet Grigor Dimitrov in the second round of Madrid’s Masters 1000. The Bulgarian, who has claimed two titles this year and won the Tie Break Tens in Madrid, yesterday defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (7), 6-4 in one hour and 48 minutes.