Karlovic, Llodra ride ace train into Rotterdam semi-final
Ivo Karlovic fired a dozen aces while Michael Llodra produced 13 on Friday as the big-hitting pair won into a semi-final showdown at the seed-short ABN-AMRO World Tennis.22 February 2008
ROTTERDAM - Ivo Karlovic fired a dozen aces while Michael Llodra produced 13 on Friday as the big-hitting pair won into a semi-final showdown at the seed-short ABN-AMRO World Tennis.
Croatian Karlovic defeated German qualifier Mischa Zverev 6-3, 6-1 as the number 24 from Zagreb tries to regain the 2007 form which took him to his first three titles on the ATP.
Llodra kept French hopes pride alive at an event won from 2000- 2002 by his compatriots, putting out the last Dutchman as he beat 20- year-old Robin Haase 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5).
One more French player remains in contention, with Gilles Simon later facing number 132 Russian qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili, who played his last quarter-final a year ago in Memphis.
Italian Andreas Seppi put out 2004 winner Lleyton Hewitt in the first round and caught top seed Rafael Nadal in the second round to set up his last-eight match with Swede Robin Soderling.
The tournament became the hard-luck story so far this season as all eight seeds were eliminated by the second round. The last time that happened was Nottingham in summer, 2006.
Karlovic had not played a 2008 quarter-final before Friday after a slow start to the season.
The Croatian holds the 2007 ace record with 1,318 and earned his first Top 10 win of the year when he beat fifth seed Tomas Berdych this week.
"I'm satisfied with my game, hopefully I will keep playing this well," said the 29-year-old Karlovic. "The Top 20 is close for me now.
"I'm the highest-ranked player still in the draw, but I don't want to consider myself the favourite, that would put too much pressure on me.
"Everyone has good chances now, I just want to keep playing well."
Llodra started out with a title in Adelaide, the second of his career and got into the Auckland quarter-finals a week alter last January before the Australian Open.
He improved to 12-3 on the season with his tight win over the 94th-ranked Haase.
Llodra almost needed a third and deciding set as he lost a 4-1 lead in the second-set tiebreaker before an overhead set up a match point.
A miss-hit by Haase ended the contest after one hour, 37 minutes.
[Copyright dpa 2008]
Subject: Dutch news