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Karlovic v Federer as it happened


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By Ben Dirs at Wimbledon

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 6-7 (6-7) Federer
... Elegance isn't a Teddy Tinling tennis dress, it's a Federer backhand - whipped, with lashings of top-spin, and that's four match points... Karlovic smashes down another ace to save one... but that's a beautiful way to wrap things up, Federer coming in and putting away a fizzing top-spin forehand. If you're going to beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon this year, you're going to have to be a ruddy genius...

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 6-6 (2-5) Federer
...Federer with the first mini-break, Karlovic going long with a backhand... Federer makes it 5-2 with a booming first serve to the Karlo backhand...

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 6-6 (1-2) Federer
We're going with serve, Karlovic overcooking a forehand miles long to make it 1-2...

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 *6-6 Federer
Karlovic sticks a wild forehand long before netting with a forehand return. Ace out wide from Federer, before Karlovic sprays a backhand return long. Federer sometimes looks bored out on court, as if all this winning is eating away at his soul... we've got a tie-breaker...

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 6-5* Federer
Feds with a stinging, dipping backhand return that Karlovic can only put long. The Croat vulnerable here, but he comes up with a 123mph second serve which Federer is unable to steer in. Karlovic into the net and he puts away a wrong-footing forehand winner, before pinging down his 21st ace. Federer nets with a backhand return, big hold from the 22nd seed...

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 *5-5 Federer
These service games zipping by, with Federer moving into a 30-0 lead with two well-directed first serves. Another ace from Federer, before Karlo finds the net with a forehand return to hand the Swiss the game...

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 5-4* Federer
Karlovic wraps up that service game to love with a laced ace straight down the middle... no rallies to speak of there...

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 *4-4 Federer
Karlovic parries a Federer second serve into the turf, before bunting a backhand return long. Lightning exchange of volleys at the net, and there's only going to be one winner there, Federer just managing to snatch the blonde from King Kong.

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 4-3* Federer
Let Federer off the hook, and he's liable to bite your jaffas off. Karlovic makes it 40-15 with a biggun down the middle, before Federer nudges the door ajar with a fierce backhand return. But Karlo holds pretty comfortably with another hammer first serve that Federer is unable to cope with.

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 *3-3 Federer
Karlovic takes the first point of Federer's service game, and he should have made it 0-30, but stiffs a routine forehand volley miles long. A let-off for Feds. Federer reckons Karlo's missed the baseline with a sliced backhand, before yanking a backhand well wide. Federer gets it back to 30-30, before Karlo nets again, this time with a backhand volley. But what a pass that is from Karlovic, leaving Federer for dead with a whipped top-spin forehand down the line. Karlo has chances there, but Feds wraps the game up with an ace out wide on Karlo's backhand wing.

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 3-2* Federer
Karlovic getting just 63% of first serves in, and that's dangerous for such a one-dimensional player. But Federer didn't make much of an impression there, another fistful of boomers from the Croat.

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 *2-2 Federer
Karlovic wins a rare exchange from the baseline, but Federer makes it 30-15 with a first serve that just grazes the T. Karlo blocks a backhand return well long, before Federer holds with a whipped forehand down the line. If Karlo is a wooden mallet, then Federer is a Swiss Army Knife, pulling out new tools and weapons in almost every game.

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 2-1* Federer
Karlovic thumps a forehand volley winner, before the Croat, like a navvy slipping into some elbow-length silk gloves, shows some rare touch at the net with a gossamer drop shot. Another ace down the middle from Karlo, another easy hold...

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 *1-1 Federer
Karlo parries a backhand return into the net, before Federer whips a top-spin forehand past the chip-and-charging Karlovic to hold.

Karlovic 3-6 5-7 1-0* Federer
Karlo pokes a forehand volley into the net, but strikes back with a meaty serve down the middle, his 12th ace. Federer receives one into the body and can only parry a backhand into the net. Settler for the Croat.

Karlovic 3-6 *5-7 Federer
Karlovic prods a backhand half-volley well long, before blocking a backhand well long. And that's two sets for Federer, in a minute over an hour...

Karlovic 3-6 5-6* Federer
Sweet as a nut from Federer, making it 15-30 with a forehand pass down the line. Federer with a blocked backhand return down he line to create two break points... AND THE WORLD NUMBER TWO HAS BROKEN! As soon as Federer got that second serve back into play, there was only going to be one winner there - forehand from Federer, and Karlo's racquet buckles under the weight of it.

Karlovic 3-6 *5-5 Federer
Federer with a fizzing ace down the T, and Karlovic is only able to stick Federer's next first long with a backhand. Federer holds with ease once more, it's like trying to tunnel through granite with a sharpened lolly stick for Karlo on the Swiss's serve.

Karlovic 3-6 5-4* Federer
Federer challenges a Karlo first serve, but the Croat pulls out a plum on second. Another nutter of a first serve from Karlo... and another, at 138mph... and another to seal the game. Federer looked like a man trying to hold off a rottweiler with a stick of celery in that game.

Karlovic 3-6 *4-4 Federer
Karlo long with a wild forehand return, before bunting a backhand return long. Pretty as a peach little drop-shot from Federer, before the Swiss holds with a curving ace down the middle.

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Karlovic 3-6 4-3* Federer
Karlovic balloons a backhand volley miles wide, before Federer shows good scrapping skills to make it 0-30 - Karlovic has two chances to put the Swiss away at the net, before poking a rather wooden-looking backhand volley long. Federer nets with a backhand return, before Karlovic pings an ace down the middle. Federer misses by the width of a cigarette paper with an attempted cross-court pass, before Karlovic holds with another bit of humpty.

Karlovic 3-6 *3-3 Federer
Federer gives Karlovic the runaround at the back of the court before drawing him in and flipping a delicate top-spin backhand pass down the line. Karlovic once again outhit from behind the baseline, and it's difficult to see how the Croat's going to break at the moment.

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"Karlovic should be playing Swingball... he's hopeless with a net in front of him! "
P. Roach, Hamilton via text on 81111

Karlovic 3-6 3-2* Federer
Karlovic with a big ace out wide, before Federer is unable to deal with a kicking second serve into the body. Karlovic holds with a serve of 135mph...

Karlovic 3-6 *2-2 Federer
Basically, if Federer can get the ball in play, Karlovic is in a bit of a pickle. Karlovic at the net at times resembles a giraffe trying to clip his own toenails, and Federer leaves him for dead again with a another raking forehand. Karlovic can only bunt a backhand return long on game point, Federer holds with ease once more.

Karlovic 3-6 2-1* Federer
Watching Ivo Karlovic go about his business on this pretty as a picture Centre Court is like watching Lottery Lout Michael Carroll doing a spot of landscaping in the Garden of Eden. A fistful of Hammer of Thor serves takes him into a 40-0 lead, before Federer defies him with a fizzing top-spin backhand into Karlo's toes. But that's a another hold...

Karlovic 3-6 *1-1 Federer
Federer with his first double, as news reaches me that a lady has been carried out of Centre Court. It's hotter than Al'Aziziyah, Libya at SW19 this afternoon... it probably says somewhere in one of the Red Tops today... Karlovic with a decent return, but Federer puts him away with a raking forehand. And no dramas again for the Swiss...

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"Feds v Karlovic is like watching Bruce Lee v Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1978 classic Game of Death." Overheating Harry in South Ken on 606
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Karlovic 3-6 1-0* Federer
That first set took just 23 minutes. That's a peach of a backhand return from Federer on the Karlo second serve, straight down the line, but Karlo follows up with a brutal smash at the net. Karlo getting 60% of first serves in at the moment, which isn't good enough against a man of Federer's pedigree. Double fault from Karlo, but he wraps up the game with a thumping second serve down the middle.

Karlovic *3-6 Federer
Federer races into a 40-0 lead, before Karlovic does manage to get a forehand back into play. But running's not Karlo's strong point, and he's only able to put a forehand on the gallop into the net as Federer wraps up the first set.

Karlovic 3-5* Federer
Federer climbs into a second serve from Karlovic, and the 22nd seed puts a backhand volley into the net. Karlovic, hampered by the sun, digs the bins out from his bag, and promptly reels off a big first serve. Another howitzer down the middle from Karlo, and he makes it 40-15 with a boomer out wide on the backhand wing. Federer goes for a lob, which is a bit like trying to high jump Tower Bridge, and that's a safe hold.

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"So Ben, who would you like to meet in the first round of the table tennis tournament down your local naturist club? Sam, Edinburgh"
Sam, Edinburgh via text on 81111

Karlovic *2-5 Federer
First love game for Federer, and in truth his service games are flashing by quicker than his rival's... Federer has only dropped one set so far, against Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round, and he doesn't look like dropping one here...

Karlovic 2-4* Federer
One thing's for sure, Federer has not come into this match underestimating his opponent. Karlovic attacks the net behind a big second serve and gets down low to put away a willowy forehand volley. Karlovic sends down another ace, and Federer can only get his frame to the next as the Croat goes 40-0 up. Federer nets with a backhand return, and the whiff of grapeshot returns to surround Karlovic. At times, Federer must know what the Russians felt like at the Battle of Friedland.

Karlovic *1-4 Federer
Another very comfortable service hold from Federer, Karlovic making little impact, and the Swiss has now conceded just three points on his own delivery.

Karlovic 1-3* Federer
Karlovic is an enormous specimen, and not the kind of man you want to be drawn against in the first round of the table-tennis tournament down your local naturist club. Karlovic misses with a first serve, and Federer, realising he has to pounce all over the Karlovic second serve, leaves his opponent standing with a cross-court forehand return. Another pass from the Swiss makes it 0-30, but Karlovic picks one up off his toes and Federer nets with a forehand. That's special from Federer, who extends an arm and flicks a backhand return down the line, and he has two break points. AND AGAIN! Flashing forehand return this time, and that's the first time Karlovic has been broken in 80 service games.

Karlovic *1-2 Federer
Karlovic renowned for being a little bit flaky on his backhand, and he finds the net with a lazy-looking attempted pass to make it 40-15. Karlovic goes long with a backhand return, and it's another safe hold from the world number two.

Karlovic 1-1* Federer
Oh my days, Karlovic kicks off with his first ace, and Federer barely gets a frame on Karlovic's second delivery. Federer, like a man in a wind tunnel, is blown away there, not even a sniff on the Croat's serve...

Karlovic *0-1 Federer
It's Federer to serve first, and it's a game he'll want to win. Karlovic puts a return long to hand Federer the first point of the match, before Karlovic shows some good bend at the net before putting away a neat forehand volley. Karlovic into the net again and Federer passes him with a threaded backhand. Ace from Federer - he won't be leading that stat for long - and he follows with another. Solid early hold from the five-time champion.
* denotes next to serve

1306: Apropos absolutely nothing to do with tennis, but you know the way Norman Wisdom is a huge hero in Albania, well it would appear that Frank Spencer has his fans in Catalonia - check out the Samuel Eto'o pic on the front page...

1302: Players are out and they're knocking up. Here's a flabbergasting fact for you (which, granted, some of you might already know) - Ivo Karlovic served 55 aces against Lleyton Hewitt in the first round of this year's French Open... and lost!

1255: If Federer is the rapier of the men's draw, Karlovic is the caveman's club. The Croat has served up 137 aces so far, including 46 in his match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Frenchman left the court looking like a man who'd been caught in a very heavy hailstorm that day. At 6ft 10in, the 22nd seed has not lost 79 service games at Wimbledon this year. I get the feeling that this match isn't going to be pretty...

1245: Afternoon everybody. Another face-meltingly hot day at SW19, and it's five-time champion Roger Federer and mammoth-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic to be thrown onto Centre Court griddle first. This pair have met nine times before, with the Swiss leading 8-1. They have met at Wimbledon once before, with number two seed Federer winning in straight sets in 2004.

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