MADRID: Croatia`s Ivo Karlovic hit 29 aces as he beat Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-7(5) 7-6(8) 6-4 in the first round of the Barcelona Open on Monday. The Croatian, both the oldest and tallest player at the clay court tournament at 39 years old and 211 centimetres, used his cannonball serve to beat the former champion at the club he has trained at since he was 14.
Karlovic will face another Spaniard in eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut on Tuesday in the round of 32. Pablo Cuevas, Rogerio Dutra Silva, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Marcel Granollers, Malek Jaziri, Leonardo Mayer and Stefanos Tsitsipas all progressed in straight sets.
Dusan Lajovic beat Pedro Martinez 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3, while Benoit Paire squeezed past Nicolas Jarry 7-6(4) 6-7(3) 6-4. Tournament favourite Rafael Nadal will be looking to triumph for the 11th time at the event on the court named in his honour. He gets into action on Wednesday against the winner of Andreas Haider-Maurer against Roberto Carballes Baena.
Fresh from winning at Monte Carlo, Nadal is looking to take the Barcelona Open title for the third year running. "It`s a very difficult field and my draw is not going to be easy," the 31-year-old told a news conference on Monday. "I will have some tough opponents. I will need to play very well."
Nadal will face late entry Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals should both players reach that stage.