It was a record smashing day as some of the lesser known journeymen on tour grabbed the spotlight at the two Pre-Wimbledon warm up events in Halle and in London. The 36 year old Croat Ivo Karlovic cracked 45 aces as he took out the consistent but without a title Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
The previous record of 44 aces in a three set match was jointly shared by Karlovic and the Australian Mark Phillipoussis but Karlovic on match point served his 45th ace of the afternoon in his 7-5,6-7(8),6-3 win over the two time Halle finalist and now faces the seven time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland who had little difficulty in beating the last remaining German Florian Mayer 6-0, 7-6(1).
The second seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan had to battle hard for a 6-4,5-7,6-3 win over the 2013 Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz of Poland and stayed on course for his third title of the year having won in Memphis and Barcelona this year. He next faces the Italian Andreas Seppi who progressed after his opponent Gael Monfils of France retired trailing 1-6,0-1 in the last match of the day. The injury puts in doubt his participation on a day when his countryman Jo Wilfred Tsonga withdrew from next week’s tournament in Nottingham. France are also scheduled to play Britain in the Davis Cup quarter-final on the grass of Queen’s Club the weekend after Wimbledon.
The line-up in the semi-final in Halle with my picks mentioned first is as under with the head to head records :-
Roger Federer (1) v. Ivo Karlovic (8) ; Federer leads 12-1
Kei Nishikori (2) v. Andreas Seppi (-) ; Nishikori leads 2-1
The event in Queen’s club continued to be ravaged by upsets and the top seeded Andy Murray also looked like joining the casualty list as he had to battle from a set down to beat the seasoned Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 3-6,7-6(2),6-4. A tournament that lost Rafael Nadal in the first round and the newly crowned French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka in the second round was also deprived of Milos Raonic of Canada – who went down to the stylish Frenchman Giles Simon 4-6,6-3,7-5.
Simon now looks certain to enter Wimbledon as the top ranked French player and maybe summoned for Davis Cup singles duty. He next faces the tall South African Kevin Anderson who beat the Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez 7-6(7),7-5 in the opening match on Friday.
Victor Troicki who missed an year serving a ban for refusing to take a doping test, continued his strong comeback with a 7-6(5),6-3 win over the under achieving American John Isner. Isner who had played three tie-breaks in his second round win over the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in a match where neither played dropped serve offered little resistance after the loss of the first set in a tie-break. Troicki upset the reigning U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia in the second round here and in the semi-final last week at Stuttgart, where he finished runner-up to the eventual champion Rafael Nadal of Spain.
The line-up in the semi-final in London with my picks mentioned first is as under with the head to head records :-
Andy Murray (1) v. Victor Troicki (-) ; Murray leads 6-0
Gilles Simon (7) v. Kevin Anderson (-) ; Anderson leads 1-0
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]