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39-year-old Karlovic reaches Maharashtra Open final | AP sports

07 January 2019

Top seed Kevin Anderson avenged last year's final loss to Frenchman Gilles Simon to reach the title match of the 2019 Tata Open Maharashtra.

Karlovic, who turns 40 next month, follows in the footsteps of Australian legend Ken Rosewall who reached a tour-level final aged 43 at Hong Kong in 1977.

The line-personnel's reflexes and alertness was put to test from the onset of the match as the ace count stood at 12 by the end of game eight.

By the end of the match, Anderson (6ft 8in) racked up 21 aces, as opposed to Karlovic's (6ft 11 in) 36. "Great to see you playing this kind of tennis", Anderson said of Karlovic. The South African again created a break opportunity by hitting a forehand victor at 30-30 but Karlovic continued to deny him the break, coming up with his 20th ace of the match.

Sabalenka lost the first set to her American opponent, before coming back to win the match 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.

Anderson, who beat Simon in straight sets in the final, had a far tougher outing in the final against the big-serving Karlovic. He started attacking at the net, forcing the Croat to lob and give away points as a lot of them travelled long. Anderson saved two break points but couldn't get his return in to save a third. In the following game, Indian pair wasn't so benevolent breaking O'Mara's serve to take a 5-3 lead and eventually winning the first set. Even though Karlovic managed to save two set points, he was unable to go on par, and ended up losing the first set owing to a double fault at 4-6. It was tricky in the tie-break.

Ivo Karlovic, has served in his long career, almost 13,000 aces, the 39-Year-old despite his high level of Tennis-ages to one of the most unsafe opponents on the Tour. The pressure seemed to get to Karlovic as he double faulted twice to hand Anderson the first set.

Both the players started the second set with love holds and there was very little to separate between their monster serves.

"At my age, it's hard to make any change to the game", said Karlovic when asked if he could have tried tactics other than just the serve and volley. With chants of "Ivo!"

Egged by the crowd support, Karlovic began to show more agility from game four onwards.

Karlovic would jump in case of victory at 58 in the world rankings. But the lanky Croatian's game improved in the second set as he won 100% points off his first service to make it hard for the World No. 6. On the fourth point, a line umpire called Karlovic's forehand out only to be quickly corrected by the chair umpire. Some clever play from Anderson saw the South African go ahead 4-2.

39-year-old Karlovic reaches Maharashtra Open final | AP sports