Karlovic makes history with Newport win

Ivo Karlovic made history this weekend by winning the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, Rhode Island to become the oldest ATP Tour singles title winner in 17 years.

On Sunday, Croatia's Karlovic, aged 37 years and five months, defeated Gilles Muller of Luxembourg to win his seventh career title 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (14-12) in a match lasting three hours with each player only dropping service once each the whole match, that being in the opening set.  

The record for the oldest winner has stood since 1979 when American Marty Riessen won in Lafayette, Louisiana beating countryman Pat Du Pré 6–4, 5–7, 6–2 in the final, aged 37 years and nine months.

The big-serving Karlovic nailed 27 aces and won close on 90% of all points when his first serve was in.

Karlovic saved three match points in the third-set tie-break to clinch the victory for the first time after losing in two previous Rhode Island finals.

In an interview after his win, the world 35th-ranked Croat said he was ecstatic to have finally won the tournament after being a losing finalist in the past.

"After all these years when I was losing in the final and now I was finally able to do it," Karlovic said.

"And I was down a match point. That makes it even nicer.

“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.”