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  • Karlovic, Seppi reach Belgrade semifinals

    5/8/09 6:55 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Karlovic, Seppi reach Belgrade semifinals Seeds Ivo Karlovic and Andreas score quarterfinal wins at the Serbia Open on Friday afternoon. They are joined in the semifinals by lucky loser Lukasz Kubot.

    (2) Ivo Karlovic d. (Q) Flavio Cipolla 6-3, 6-3

    Karlovic fired 13 aces and never lost serve on his way to straight-set victory over Flavio Cipolla on Friday and a place in the semifinals of the inaugural Serbia Open. The No. 2 seed lost just six points on serve in the first set--three due to double-faults--and did not face a break point, so one break of his own was enough for him to cruise through the opening frame of play. Karlovic was even more successful with his return game in set two, taking advantage of weak deliveries off Cipolla's racket. The 122nd-ranked Italian won only half of the points even when he put his first serve in play. Karlovic had to save one break point in the second, but he finished the set with eight aces and no double-faults. The 6'10'' Croat's third break of the afternoon finished off the match in style after a mere one hour and 11 minutes. Next up for Karlovic is lucky loser Lukasz Kubot.

    (4) Andreas Seppi d. Marcos Daniel 6-4, 7-5

    Seppi needed one hour and 57 minutes to to oust a battling Daniel in straight sets. The 36th-ranked Italian seemed to be in control right from the start, but he had trouble pulling away from his underdog opponent. Seppi lost just six points on serve in the first set, but the majority of those came in one game in which he got broken. Daniel, however, gave two breaks back--mostly due to winning only 33 percent of his second-serve points--and Seppi was able to serve out the opening frame of play at 5-4. A bizarre second set ensued. Both men held easily until a flurry of breaks began out of nowhere at 3-3. Seppi started it with a huge down-the-line forehand pass on break point for 4-3. With the match seemingly in hand up a set and a break, the No. 4 gave it right back with a double-fault on break point. Seppi broke again for 5-4, then promptly gave it away again while serving for the match. A fifth straight break gave Seppi another chance at 6-5, and this time he made no mistake, closing out the proceedings at love. Seppi awaits one of two Serbs in the semifinals; either Viktor Troicki or top-seeded Novak Djokovic.

    (LL) Lukasz Kubot d. Kristof Vliegen 7-6(6), 6-3

    The dream week for Kubot continued on Friday in the form a straight-set upset over Vliegen. Consider what has transpired for Kubot over the past five days: on Monday he lost in the final round of qualifying--apparently out of the tournament before the main draw even started--but got in as a lucky loser when Steve Darcis pulled out. Kubot then got to play little-known wildcard Arsenije Zlatanovic in the first round. On his way to the semifinals, Kubot has faced just one seeded player and that was Igor Andreev, who retired just five games into their second-round clash. The Polish surprise, however, had to win fair and square against Vliegen in the quarterfinals. Both men struggled on serve and a total of six breaks were exchanged as the first set progressed to a tiebreaker. Kubot capitalized on Vliegen's serve at 7-6 in hard-fought 'breaker to take the opening frame of play. Vliegen continued to flounder on serve in set two. The 105th-ranked Belgian got broken three more times and was only able to get one of the breaks back. Kubot, who won 78 percent of his second-serve points in the second set, finished off the match with his sixth break of the afternoon. The world No. 179 will be going up against Karlovic for the first time in his career on Saturday with a spot in the final at stake.



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