Melbourne - Ivo
Karlovic smashed a jaw-dropping 75 aces as he beat Horacio Zeballos in a
record, 84-game marathon which stretched more than five hours at the
Australian Open on Tuesday.
The Croatian serving specialist yelled in delight and pranced around
the court as he finally sealed victory 6-7 (6/8), 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 22-20
on an outer court at Melbourne Park.
The match beat the Australian Open's previous tiebreak-era record of
83 games, set in Andy Roddick's defeat of Younes El Aynaoui in 2003.
At five hours 15 minutes, it was one of the longest matches in the
tournament's history, although still short of the five hours, 53 minutes
set in the 2012 men's final.
The denouement, when it finally came, was almost comical as an
exhausted Karlovic chipped a hopeful lob over Zeballos, only for the
Argentine to send a wayward forehand rocketing out of the court.
The 6-foot-11 (2.11m) Karlovic already holds the record for aces on
tour after surpassing Goran Ivanisevic's career total of 10 237 in 2015.
Tuesday's first-round match carried echoes of John Isner and Nicolas
Mahut's epic encounter at 2010 Wimbledon, the longest match in tennis
After 11 hours, five minutes of play that stretched over three days,
and a total of 183 games, Isner triumphed 70-68 in the final set.