Unbreakable Ivo Karlović Wins The ATP Title in Newport

The big-serving Croat wins seventh career ATP World Tour title and becomes the oldest ATP champion in last couple of decades.

In his third consecutive Newport final, Ivo Karlović won his first title at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on Sunday, July 17. 2016. The Croat erased three championship points and came back from a set down against Luxembourg's Gilles Muller to win 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(12) in two hours and 56 minutes.

The 37-year-old Karlović takes home his seventh career ATP World Tour title and also becomes the oldest winner in the tournament's 40-year history. Karlović, at 37 years, 4 months, also becomes the oldest ATP World Tour singles champion in the last 27 years.

"After all these years when I was losing in the final and now I was finally able to do it," Karlović said. "And I was down a match point. That makes it even nicer."

The big-serving Croat, who was playing in his third consecutive Newport final, took the title with huge serving. He blasted 27 aces and won almost 90 per cent of his first-serve points (71/80).

“In the beginning... I didn't really feel my serve. I was a little bit doubtful,” said Karlović, who double faulted six times in his first three service games. “But I just tried to hang in there and tried to get to a tie-break any way I could.”

Muller dominated to the first set tie-break, though, and in the second set tie-break, he was a swing away from gaining a match point. At 5/5, Karlović tossed up a lob and Muller had a play on it but let it sail over him. The ball bounced in, and Karlović evened the match on the next point.

Neither player had a break point in the third set and the match between two of the great grass-court servers headed into a final set tie-break. Muller saw the first match point at 6/5 but Karlović erased it. Muller would then erase four match points but at 12/12, he tapped a volley long to give the Croat his fifth match point and the first on his racquet. The 26-point tie-break was the longest in a decisive set in an ATP World Tour final in the Open Era.

"His serve is unbelievable. I was trying to return anyway I could," Karlović said. "It was difficult. I was really happy that I was able to do it at the end."

The win gives dr. Ivo his first title of the season. The Zagreb native struggled with a left knee injury earlier in the year, but has came back in style, and proved he is not to be written off just yet.