Friday, October 14, 2011

With less drama, Karlovic tops Fischer again

   This time, Ivo Karlovic didn't have to save any match points.
   Not that there wasn't some suspense.
   The second-seeded Karlovic, a 6-foot-10 Croat, defeated unseeded Martin Fischer, a 5-11 Austrian, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 Friday in the quarterfinals of the $100,000 First Republic Bank Tiburon Challenger at the Tiburon Peninsula Club.
   The third set was closer than the score indicated. Serving at 5-3, Karlovic saved three break points before triumphing on his third match point.
   Had Fischer converted one of the break points, he would have served to even the match at 5-5. Easier said than done against Karlovic, who unleashed a 156-mph serve in March to break Andy Roddick's record of 155.
   Last week in Sacramento, Karlovic survived two match points against him in the first round against Fischer and proceeded to win the title.
   Karlovic will play eighth-seeded Bjorn Phau, perhaps the fastest player in men's tennis, Saturday in a matchup of 32-year-olds in the Tiburon semifinals. Phau, a 5-9 German, eliminated unseeded Laurynas Grigelis, a 20-year-old Lithuanian, 6-3, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
   Karlovic and Phau apparently play each other every five years. The head-to-head series is tied 1-1, with Phau winning 7-6 (5), 7-5 on a hardcourt in the Bronx, N.Y., in 2001 and Karlovic prevailing 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8) on clay in Munich in 2006.
   In the other semifinal, top-seeded Ryan Sweeting of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will face third-seeded Sam Querrey of Las Vegas in a matchup of 24-year-olds. Sweeting topped fifth-seeded Vasek Pospisil of Canada 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, and Querrey dispatched unseeded Alex Kuznetsov of Tampa, Fla., 6-1, 6-4.
   Sweeting, a 6-5 native of the Bahamas, is 2-1 lifetime against Querrey, a 6-6 native of San Francisco (across the bay from Tiburon). They have met twice this year, with Sweeting winning on a hardcourt in Delray Beach, Fla., in February and on clay in Houston in April. He went on to win the Houston crown for his only ATP World Tour title.
   WTA tour in Osaka, Japan -- Top-seeded Vania King of the Sacramento Capitals and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan led third-seeded Raquel Kops-Jones, a former Cal star from Fresno, and Abigail Spears of San Diego 6-0, 2-1 when rain suspended play early Saturday morning PDT in the doubles semifinals at the HP Japan Women's Open. King and Shvedova won the first eight games.

 At Tiburon Peninsula Club
 Singles quarterfinals
   Ryan Sweeting (1), Fort Lauderdale, Fla., def. Vasek Pospisil (5), Canada, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. Ivo Karlovic (2), Croatia, def. Martin Fischer, Austria, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. Bjorn Phau (8), Germany, def. Laurynas Grigelis, Lithuania, 6-3, 6-2. Sam Querrey (3), Las Vegas, def. Alex Kuznetsov, Tampa, Fla., 6-1, 6-4.
Doubles semifinals
   Carsten Ball and Chris Guccione, Australia, def. Vasek Pospisil, Canada, and Bobby Reynolds, Acworth, Ga., 6-4, 6-3.
Saturday's schedule
Stadium Court
(Beginning at 11 a.m.)
   Sweeting (1) vs. Querrey (3), Phau (8) vs. Karlovic (2) not before 1 p.m., Kuznetsov and Sweeting vs. Johnson and Querrey.

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