By Sandra Harwitt
The Exxonmobil Open party is over for Ivo Karlovic, who came close to bypassing fourth-seeded David Ferrer in the semifinal.
Their encounter was a battle of wits — Ferrer used the word “mental” in describing the match. There were no service breaks and in the final stages of the third set tiebreaker the match fell to the Spaniard 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) after 2 hours, 32 minutes of play.
Here’s what Ferrer had to say about that Karlovic supersonic serve: “Ivo, he is serving unbelievable this week, first and second serve. He surprise me with the second serve because he was serving 119 kph with the second serve, and it was not easy to return him.”
Karlovic even went so far as to save Ferrer’s first match point at 6-3 with a second serve ace.
Don’t cry for the 35-year-old Karlovic just because he lost in the semifinals.
He earned an impressive slice of history this week. He arrived in Doha needing just five aces to reach a career highlight of 9,000 aces served. He achieved that greatness in the first match, joining Goran Ivanisevic ( 10,183) and Andy Roddick (9074) as the only three men in the record annals of the game to perform that feat.
Well, let’s just say that Karlovic has already left Andy the Dandy in the dust here in this Middle Eastern desert country of Qatar.
By the time he was ready to pack his bags and move onto Australia, Karlovic had played four matches in Doha, served 97 aces total in those matches (30 in his semifinal loss to Ferrer) and now has a total of 9,092 aces to his credit.
At that kind of pace, let’s just say that Ivanisevic should be worried his record is in danger of not standing forever. Karlovic is only 1,091 aces behind his Croatian compatriot and it’s only the first week of the year.
Think that 1,092 aces is that far away — that’s the magic number that Dr. Ivo will need to be the historical ace king of tennis? Think again. In 2014, Karlovic had a tour-leading 1,185 aces in 64 matches played.