Karlovic notches third career win on third different surface

Updated: October 14, 2007, 1:44 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

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"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.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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