Tennis: Karlovic puts Coric in his place with varied game

Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:31pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Towering Croatian Ivo Karlovic, once pigeonholed as a serving machine with few other buttons to press, showed there is more to his game than aces at Wimbledon on Monday.

The 37-year-old, one of a growing number of 30-somethings in the men's draw, served 26 untouchable deliveries to dispatch teenager and compatriot Borna Coric 7-6(8) 7-6(7) 6-4.

But the second oldest man in the draw demonstrated that he is not just a one-trick pony.

His volleying was McEnroe-esque at times and his unsung groundstrokes, especially a grass-hugging slice, were rock solid when the 19-year-old Coric dragged him into baseline rallies.

Karlovic's movement too belied that of a man who at 2.11 metres loomed large on the tight confines of Court Eight, drawing gasps from spectators who had never seen him close up.

Even when he was in trouble, trailing 2-6 in the second set tiebreaker, the priceless commodity of experience came to his rescue.

He slammed down an ace, another serve winner, and produced a couple of textbook volleys as he surged back to snatch a decisive two-set lead.

"Only 26 today," Karlovic joked of his ace count that took his career total to a world record 10,851.   Continued...