Marcos Baghdatis knocks out top seed Ivo Karlovic at Zagreb Indoors
Marcos Baghdatis from Cyprus survived 26 aces and saved a match point to upset top-seeded Ivo Karlovic from Croatia in the second round of the Zagreb Indoors on Wednesday.
Baghdatis, the 2008 champ, converted his second match point to defeat Karlovic 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (7), in a thrilling match just shy of the two-hour mark.
Karlovic hit 83 percent first serve and won 80 percent of the first serve points, but Baghdatis played better at crucial moments.
"I was a bit fresher than in the first round, but against Ivo there are not many rallies and you don't get chance to get tired. You have to be explosive," Baghdatis said. "It's very tough to play against a guy with such a serve and such a first serve percentage. But I think I won when I changed the position where I received his serve and therefore changed his way of serving."
There was only one break of serve -- at 3-2 in the first set -- and only two break points in total: Karlovic saved one at 1-2 in the second set.
Baghdatis won the first set tie-break after trailing 1-3. The third set tie-break it was a battle of nerves as Karlovic saved a match point at 5-6 with an ace, then squandered one at 7-6 before Baghdatis converted the second match point.
"It's not easy to handle this," Karlovic said. "I expected more. I had a match point and did not convert it."
Earlier, sixth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia swept past Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-1, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals. Youzhny won four games in a row but was broken when serving for the first set. He broke back to seal the first set and moved to 5-0 in the second.
"It was much tougher than it seems," Youzhny insisted. "I had to save two break points early into the match and every game was a battle."
Youzhny defeated Stakhovsky the last time they met in Zagreb three years ago, and leads their head-to-head 4-1.
Also Wednesday, former champion Ivan Dodig eased his way through to the second round defeating fellow-Croatian Mate Delic 6-2, 6-3. Dodig, who won the title here in 2011, needed only 57 minutes to win, losing only seven points on serve.
"I played tactically very well. I tried to slow down the game, because I know it does not suit his style," Dodig said.
Dodig will face eighth-seeded Spaniard Marcel Granollers who defeated former finalist Jurgen Melzer from Austria in the first round 6-2, 7-6 (3). Granollers faced no break point and won 88% of points on first serve.
The Spaniard won four games in a row in the first set, moving from 2-2 to 6-2. Both players held serve in the second set.
In other first-round matches, James Ward from Great Britain defeated Croatian wild card Antonio Veic 6-2, 6-4, while Igor Sijsling from the Netherlands beat Canadian qualifier Frank Dancevic, 6-4, 7-5.