Ivo Karlovic of Croatia hit a backhand return against Gilles Simon of France during their match on the first day of the Kooyong Classic tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 10, 2017. / AFP / William WEST / IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE        (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

Karlovic edges Simon with big serve in super tiebreak

Posted on January 10, 2017

Unsurprisingly it was a strong serving game from Croatian Ivo Karlovic that decided his match with Gilles Simon in a super tiebreak at the 2017 Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic.

The 37-year-old big man was able to keep the points short for much of the contest eventually getting the win 6-4 6-7 (10-7) in one hour and 35 minutes.

An earlier start time and change in opponent forced the Croatian to make some pre-match adjustments after Richard Gasquet withdrew earlier in the day, but he was satisfied with his performance.

“It was a little bit earlier today than I was expecting but it was actually alright because I’m still struggling a bit with jetlag so the earlier the better I guess,” Karlovic said after the match.

“Yeah it was really good today, I had a few tough games but I was able to win them so I am really happy with my serve and with the game coming into the Australian Open.

“Yeah it was a little bit windy and it was also hot, which I was not used to because I’ve been in Europe the last two to three months.

“It was a little bit warmer but hopefully next week I’ll be 100 per cent.”

Simon took a while to come to terms with Karlovic’s serve but played some classy winners in the second set forcing a tiebreaker he easily won 7-1.

A number of his returns of serve and passing shots were world class and provided the crowd with an entertaining match that was eventually decided by a super tiebreaker.

“It was okay, it was tough,” Simon said of the match.

“It’s hard to play against Ivo, tough to find a rhythm but I think I did a good job it was difficult conditions, it was hot today and is a bit windy here.

“Ivo gives you no reason to put your game in place and somehow I managed to stay cool and relaxed I think, it was a pretty good performance even if in the end he played a very good super tiebreak.”

The change of opponent was likely even more tricky for the Frenchman, particularly given his original opponent and countryman Gasquet plays in the exact opposite fashion to the big Croatian.

“Of course, it affects the game (having a different opponent) but it’s more about the strategy playing Richard or Ivo is like the complete opposite,” Simon explained.

“You have one player that is going for everything and you have only short rallies (against the other) and never hit more than three balls in a row.

“When you play Richard you have long rallies, he’s never missing any stupid shots, but that’s how it is, I still had a great match with Ivo and I’m happy about it.”

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