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Karlovic notches third career win on third different surface

10/14/2007 - Tennis

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Big-serving Ivo Karlovic had 27 aces in
defeating Thomas Johansson 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 Sunday to win the
Stockholm Open for his third career ATP title.


After splitting the first two sets on the Royal Tennis Hall's
hard court, Karlovic broke the unseeded Swede to lead 2-0 and broke
again to take a 4-0 lead.


"This is my first title indoors and that's special," the Croat
said. "I'm very happy that I won here."


The 6-foot-10 Karlovic, the tallest player on the ATP tour, has
a tour-leading 1,135 aces this year. Goran Ivanisevic set the
record in 1996 with 1,477 aces.


"But I think it's almost unreachable," Karlovic said about the
record. "He's too far ahead. I don't think about it."


The seventh-seeded Karlovic joined top-ranked Roger Federer as
the only players to win singles titles on three different surfaces
this year.


Karlovic won his first two ATP titles this year at Houston
(clay) and Nottingham (grass), and earned a career-high ranking of
No. 25 this week.


Swedish tennis great Bjorn Borg presented the trophy to
Karlovic.


"I think I played much worse today than in the semifinals,"
said Johansson, who has won two of his nine career titles in
Stockholm. "My first two sets were OK, but my third set wasn't
good. It's really tough to play Karlovic if you lose your serve
early."


After holding his first two service games at love, Johansson was
broken to trail 4-2 in the first set when he netted a sliced
backhand. Karlovic only lost three points in his next two games
with serve.


Johansson, a former Australian Open champion, broke Karlovic for
the only time in the match to take a 2-0 lead in the second set.
Karlovic had one break point at 30-40 in game nine when he hit a
deep forehand winner into the corner. But Johansson eventually held
with an ace to force a decisive set.