21 Feb Evening Semifinals
[frame align=”left”][/frame]EVENING SINGLES SEMIFINAL
KARLOVIC RETURNS TO DELRAY FINAL
BY STEVE DORSEY
DELRAY BEACH, FL. – It was appropriate that Ivo Karlovic delivered a 128-mph ace on match point Saturday night to clinch a berth in the finals of the ATP World Tour Delray Beach Open.
It was the 6-foot-11 Croatian’s tournament-leading 78th ace this week and closed out a 6-3, 6-4 semifinal win against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino that sent him to the Delray Beach final for the second time. A runner-up here in 2010, Karlovic will attempt to capture his first Delray title and sixth of his career on Sunday afternoon when he faces American Donald Young in an intriguing championship match.
Karlovic, who is No. 29 in the ATP World rankings and the No. 4 seed here, has overpowered his opponents this week with his serve. He has not been broken in 47 games entering Sunday’s final and has saved 12 break points.
Karlovic registered 17 aces and saved five break points against Mannarino, who was denied a shot at his first ATP World Tour title.
“He’s really a tricky guy. I had to be aggressive,” Karlovic said of Mannarino, who is ranked No. 41 in the world. “All in all, it was a good match for me.”
Karlovic and Young have played each other once before, but that was a qualifier won by Karlovic on clay in Houston four years ago. Sunday’s match will be their first on the ATP World Tour and both are playing solid tennis.
“It’s different here,” Karlovic said of the matchup against Young. “He’s improved a lot and he played really good last week (in Memphis), too.”
Karlovic, 35, will have a decisive advantage in experience on Sunday. He will be playing in his 13th ATP World Tour final, while the 25-year-old Young has only one championship match on his resume, and that was four years ago.
“His serve was jumping over the fence,” Young said of his only match against Karlovic in 2011. “Overall, I just want to play my own game (Sunday).”
Dealing with Karlovic’s stellar serving game no doubt will be the biggest challenge for Young.
[frame align=”left”][/frame]EVENING DOUBLES SEMIFINAL
KLAASEN – PAES CONTINUE HOT STREAK TO START 2015
BY ISMAIL ERCAN
Speaking of challenges, Bernard Tomic faced a double whammy Saturday. An hour after falling to Donald Young in the singles semifinals, Tomic returned to stadium court to team up with Serbia’s Victor Troicki in a doubles semifinal against No. 2 seed South African Raven Klaasen and Leander Paes of India.
Father Time has not seemed to adversely affected the 41-year old Paes, as his volleys and reflexes proved too much for the “young boys” on the other side of the net. Klaasen and Paes disposed of the Aussie-Serbia duo 6-4, 6-4.
The newly-formed doubles team already has a title and two finals under their belts in five appearances together to start the 2015 season. They won the Auckland tournament and reached the finals in Chennai, and now Delray Beach.
“We made a late decision to come out to Delray Beach and it’s turned out to be a good decision,” Klaasen said. “We will continue to keep working out, getting better, understanding our roles, and having fun. Delray Beach has been good to us so far.”
They will face twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan in the finals on Sunday.
Paes praised the play of Klaasen, his new doubles partner since the beginning of the season.
“Every match we just keep getting better,” Paes said. “The fun part about playing with Raven is that he is not only a world class athlete but he is a very intelligent athlete. His presence on the court is just fantastic. I’ve played with a lot of guys who have worked their way into tournaments, worked their way into a season, but this young man has started off out of the gates really quick. And now with every match he is just understanding his role better, he is dominating the court, and he plays with this personality that is both humble and very aggressive. That is exactly what you need in this modern day of tennis.”
Both players said they are looking forward to their first encounter as a team against the Bryan brothers.
“It is always wonderful for the tournament and for us to have the No. 1 and 2 seeds playing in the final,” Paes said. “There’s a lot to expect from the boys and we are going to take it to them. The big points are going to be key to the match. And at the end of the day, in this format, the big points are really where it’s at. There are going to be one, two or three chances in that match and whoever plays those big points really well is going to win it.”
Added Klaasen: “We will come out ready to rumble.”