• Stepanek routs Koubek, Brands boots Karlovic in 'breaker

    2/1/11 9:06 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Stepanek routs Koubek, Brands boots Karlovic in 'breaker Radek Stepanek eases past Stefan Koubek on Tuesday in Zagreb. Stepanek is joined in the second round by Daniel Brands, who outlasted Ivo Karlovic in a third-set tiebreaker.

    Radek Stepanek d. (Q) Stefan Koubek 6-3, 6-2

    Koubek did well to qualify for the main draw of the PBZ Zagreb Indoors, but he looked hopeless against Stepanek as the underdog Austrian bowed out in just 57 minutes on Monday afternoon. Struggling immensely on serve right from the start, Koubek won fewer than half of his first-serve points in the opening set and saw Stepanek break a whopping three times. The 32-year-old Czech's third break of the day at 5-3 finished off the set in style.

    Stepanek donated his own serve once in the first, but he picked up the pace in the second. The world No. 63 did not face a single break point and he continued to dominate in the return department by winning nine of 11 second-serve points in set two. In appropriate fashion, Stepanek ended the proceedings with his fifth break at 5-2. He will battle No. 5 seed Florian Mayer for a spot in the quarterfinals.

    Daniel Brands d. Ivo Karlovic 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-6(1)

    Brands never dropped serve and withstood 32 aces from Karlovic to reach the Zagreb second round after exactly two hours of play. Their only previous encounter (Delray Beach 2010) featured zero service breaks and Tuesday's clash had only one. It came at 5-5 in the first set, when Brands struck before serving out the opening frame of play with ease at 6-5.

    Tiebreakers were necessary in each of the final two sets. No break points occurred in the second and Brands fought off one in the third at 3-3. Karlovic dominated the second-set tiebreaker by winning four consecutive points to break a 3-3 tie. In the decisive 'breaker, however, it was Brand's turn to roll. The German raced to a 6-0 advantage, missed sixtuple match point on a Karlovic ace, then converted quintuple match point with his 16th ace. Next up for Brands is another Croat--No. 2 seed Ivan Ljubicic.

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kudos to rd who seemed to have sit through a whole match with karlovic in his "prime"

croc , 2/2/11 9:42 AM

Radek is dumped out today, though. Florian Mayer, who made an impression at AO two weeks back, did the job.

Elsewhere I see that top seed Feliciano Lopez has fallen to comeback kid Frank Dancevic, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (8). Pulsating tie-break - the Canadian had a point to take it on his own serve at 6-5 - but Feli wrong-fotted him and took it to a second change of ends, finally being broken at 8-9.

Oh, but I forget: worst line-up ever. Right, Ricky?

gorafago , 2/2/11 4:29 PM

In saying 'elsewhere' I refer to Johannesburg which was written up, and quickly buried, a few days ago. But you know, it's all very well not to get worked up because of how things look on paper. A good match is a good match and I am sure the crowd more than got their money's worth today!

gorafago , 2/2/11 4:38 PM

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