NEWPORT, July 18, 2016
In his third Newport final, Ivo Karlovic outlasted Gilles Muller 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 to win his first title at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. The second seed Croat, who previously lost two finals in Newport in 2014 and 2015, fired 27 aces, winning 89% of his first service points. Karlovic saved three match points to seal victory in two hours and 56 minutes.
The match was Karlovic’s 15th career ATP World Tour final. By claiming his first title of the season, he improved to 7-8 in finals. At 37 years and four months, he also became the oldest champion in the tournament’s 40-year history, as well as the oldest ATP World Tour singles champion since Marty Riessen (37 years, nine months) in 1979.
“After all these years when I was losing in the final and now I was finally able to do it… And I was down a match point. That makes it even nicer,” Karlovic said.
“In the beginning… I didn’t really feel my serve. I was a little bit doubtful. But I just tried to hang in there and tried to get to a tie-break any way I could. That was key. I was trying to get my serve better and as the match was going on I was serving better. I’m really happy that I was able to do it this year… I really like it here. I like these courts.”
Muller said: “Having match points, being so close to winning my first title and not winning, it’s tough. He played well. He came up with the big shots, with the right shots in the big moments and that’s what makes you win those matches. I did what I could. I don’t feel like I did something wrong.”