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World No.4 – Andy Murray got past a difficult fixture in his second round match against big serving Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic. He smashed 30 winners and served 7 aces to close out the match in 3 hours and 6 minutes. Karlovic won one set while the others were easily won by Murray. Murray closed out the match 7-5,6-7(5),6-2,7-6(4).
The first set started off in an unusual manner for both players as Karlovic broke the Murray serve in the very first game, this after the Scot was up 40-0. In the very next game though, Murray responded in typical fashion break the Croat – an especially unusual occurrence on the Karlovic serve. Normalcy resumed from there on in as both players held their serves. Some exquisite shots were played there from both players. Till the tenth game we remained on serve, but some perseverance from the Scot saw him get two set points on the Karlovic serve at 5-4. Karlovic saved those two and held on. As we moved forward, the inevitable happened as we moved to the tie break.
The second set had a familiar pattern. Karlovic looked back to his serving best, and it just becomes impossible to break the Croat, when he serves that way. Lingering memories of that match against Lleyton Hewitt started to come to mind. Both players held on to their serves well, and neither saw a break point opportunity in the entire set. In a Karlovic match, its nothing new really. As we moved into the inevitable tie break, to pick the winner was next to impossible. In the tie break, the big man got an early mini break, but Murray got it back the next time Karlovic served as we went all square again. Neither could break once more till Karlovic got a set point opportunity at 6-5. Murray couldn't get the first serve in an the Croat volleyed well to close it out. He won it by the finest of margins 7-6(5).
Shaken up by the previous set, Murray raised the bar in the third. Karlovic on the other hand looked complacent in the first game, and Murray capitalised on that by breaking the Croat's serve. He then held on to his serve to make it 2-0. From there, it was all Murray as the Scot won 4 out of the next 6 games, breaking Karlovic once more in what turned out to be the penultimate game. He persevered in the set and reaped the rewards. He now has all the momentum on his side as we move into the fourth set. Murray smashed 9 winners and made just two unforced errors to wrap up the set in just 33 minutes.
The fourth had a similar pattern as the second, only this time the Croat looked a bit leggy. He is 33 years old now, and he looked just that. Murray's strategy of taking the pace of the ball started to work in his favour as the Croat started to make tired mistakes in longer rallies. Nevertheless, he held on to his serve well and forced the set into a tie break. The Croat never saw a break point in the set once more. Murray got an early mini-break there, but squandered it with a weak second serve. Karlovic then served a double fault to hand Murray the initiative, who served out the match.
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