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ATP Bogota: Karlovic’s comeback gathers momentum

Steven Webb in ATP Tour 18 Jul 2013
Ivo Karlovic has made a successful comeback following meningitis.

Ivo Karlovic made his second straight quarter-final with a 6-3, 7-6 victory over third seed Igor Sijsling in Bogota.

Karlovic missed three months of the tour after contracting viral meningitis in the spring. The illness was so severe that the Croatian spent much of his recovery time unconscious, and when he did return to the practice court he could manage only intermittent bursts of activity. 

“I took to the court after one month,” said Karlovic in Newport last week. “Five minutes one week and then every day. It was tough, because I didn’t know when or if I would be able to come back.”

But come back he has, and Wednesday’s win over Sijsling was another major confidence boost for the 6’10” right-hander. Armed with one of the most formidable serves on tour, he blasted 24 aces past his Dutch opponent and won 84% of first serve points. The second set tie-break was a marathon that oscillated between match points for Karlovic and set points for Sijsling, but Karlovic eventually took it 16 points to 14.

Unseeded at the Claro Open Colombia, 34-year-old Karlovic goes on to face fifth seed Adrian Mannarino in the last eight. The Frenchman was a comfortable 6-1, 6-2 winner over qualifier Victor Estrella Burgos.

The other winners on Wednesday were Kevin Anderson and Santiago Giraldo, the second and sixth seeds respectively. Anderson defeated Emilio Gomez, the son of 1990 Roland Garros champion Andre Gomez, in their rain-interrupted second round match. The South African had a mixed serving day, firing down 18 aces but also hitting 13 double faults; he eventually came through 6-3, 7-6 after one hour, 34 minutes of play.

Colombian number one Giraldo kept the crowd on the edge of their seats during a close three-set battle with Australian Chris Guccione. But the 25-year-old recovered from the loss of the first set to register a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win and reach his first ATP quarter-final since February. Giraldo and Anderson will play each other on Friday, with Anderson leading the pair’s head-to-head 1-0. 

On Thursday in Bogota, top seed Janko Tipsarevic will play his first match against Ruben Bemelmans. Tipsy started 2013 strongly with a title in Chennai, but he has struggled to win consecutive matches since. Hampered by a foot injury, he was last seen losing tamely in the first round of Wimbledon.

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ATP Bogota: Karlovic’s comeback gathers momentum

Ivo Karlovic has made the quarter-finals of a tournament for the second week in a row.

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