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Rediff.com  » Sports » Karlovic topples Hewitt

Karlovic topples Hewitt

June 11, 2005 11:18 IST

Croatian colossus Ivo Karlovic returned to haunt Lleyton Hewitt on Friday, knocking out the Australian top seed 7-6, 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Stella Artois Championships.

Karlovic caused one of the biggest shocks in tennis history two years ago when he beat the then-defending Wimbledon champion in the opening round in his first match in a grand slam event, and he was at it again at the Queen's Club.

The unseeded 2.08m-tall Croat took the first set 7-4 in the tiebreak before breaking Hewitt for a 5-3 lead in the second and sealing victory with an ace to set up a contest with Swedish sixth seed Thomas Johansson.

Johannson upset British third seed Tim Henman 6-4, 6-4 while second seed Andy Roddick, now a strong favourite to complete a hat-trick of Stella titles, beat France's Sebastien Grosjean 6-4, 7-6.

In the last four of the pre-Wimbledon grasscourt event, Roddick will face Czech fourth seed Radek Stepanek, who beat French teenager Richard Gasquet 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

On a blustery day in west London, seventh seed Grosjean gifted Roddick the first set with two double-faults at 4-5.

GLUM HENMAN

In the second set tiebreak, the American created match point with a raking backhand pass and produced a sizzling 132 mph second serve to win it 7-5.

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"It normally works," Roddick said of the serve. "It feels good.

"Seb's had really, really good results on grass the last couple of years. I'm really excited. After three matches you just want to be alive still."

Henman was unable to get his serve-volley game going against Johansson, the methodical 2002 Australian Open champion who knocked out another Briton, teenager Andrew Murray, in the previous round.

The decisive break of the first set came in the seventh game and 30-year-old Henman never recovered from losing his serve in the first game of the second, after which he smashed his racket in frustration.

"The key was that I returned very well and that made him uncomfortable serving," said the 30-year-old Swede.

"I'm disappointed with my performance, I never gave myself the opportunity to put pressure on him," admitted a glum Henman, the four-times losing Wimbledon semi-finalist who has finished runner-up at Queen's three times.
Bill Barclay
Source:
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