Karlovic's stock rises after second victory
Thursday 26 June 2003
Adelaide must be wondering what it has done to offend Ivo Karlovic. Not content with his first-day demolition of the defending champion, Lleyton Hewitt, the 6ft 10in Croat reached the last 32 by beating another of the city's favourite sons, Paul Baccanello, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-2 as the evening sunlight faded on Court 14.
Like Hewitt, Baccanello stretched Karlovic to four sets. Rather less of a tall order at 6ft in height and 204th in the world rankings, he failed to break serve at all during the first two sets but demonstrated commendable resilience to take the third after at last breaking in the 12th game.
The effort exacted a cruel toll on the Australian, however, and Karlovic briskly amassed a 3-0 lead in what proved to be the final set. It lasted only 29 minutes. He may stammer when he speaks but he seldom stutters on his serve. So this giant of a giantkiller can now look forward to facing the 6ft 5in Max Mirnyi of Belarus.
Fame is unlikely to go to Karlovic's head; it has too far to travel. When he returned to his £34-a-night lodgings (in the Aussie enclave of Earl's Court) after beating Hewitt, he looked so drained that the landlady assumed he had lost. Yet by Tuesday, in a move that reflected his first-round winnings, he was with by his parents (who had flown in from Zagreb) in a five-star hotel in Kensington.
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