Stockholm Open: Karlovic, Haas in semis

Ivo Karlovic reached the semifinals of the Stockholm Open by beating Arnaud Clement .

updated: October 15, 2007 18:20 IST
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Ivo Karlovic reached the semifinals of the Stockholm Open by beating Arnaud Clement 7-6 (1), 3-6, 7-6 (7) on Friday.

The seventh-seeded Croat saved a match point with an ace when trailing 6-5 in the third-set tiebreaker, then clinched the match with another ace at 8-7.

Karlovic, who won his first two ATP titles this year and earned a career-high ranking of No 25 this week, will play Tommy Haas in Saturday's semifinals at the Royal Tennis Hall.

The fourth-seeded Haas defeated Juan Monaco 6-3, 6-3 to reach the semifinals for the second time since 2004.

"I expected to have some good rallies. He's a great athlete on the court and puts a lot of balls in play. I like playing indoors. I'm happy with my results so far here, but the next match will be difficult. Karlovic is a tough player", Haas said.

Haas, who won the first five games, has struggled somewhat recently, getting crushed by Igor Andreev in the Davis Cup semifinals against Russia and exiting in Bangkok in the second round last week.

Former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson also made the semifinals, beating Mario Ancic 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3).

The Swede improved his record to 23-11 in Stockholm, where he won titles in 2000 and 2004.

Johansson forced a decisive set by breaking Ancic at love to lead 6-5 in the second and then served out the set.

In the third, Johansson broke to lead 6-5, but Ancic broke right back to force the tiebreaker. Johansson got two early mini breaks and never trailed the rest of the way.

Karlovic, the tallest player on the ATP tour, had 30 aces for a tour-leading 1,093 this year. Goran Ivanisevic set the record in 1996 with 1,477 aces.

Karlovic lost only four points with his serve in the first set, when his first-serve percentage was 88 percent.

Clement saved two break points in the second set at 1-1, and then broke Karlovic for the only time in the match to lead 4-3 when the Croat's forehand sailed long.

Later on Friday, two-time defending champion James Blake, who is 12-0 in the tournament, was to play Jarkko Nieminen in a rematch of last year's final.