Showing posts with label Ivo Karlovic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ivo Karlovic. Show all posts

Friday, March 18, 2011

Indian Wells: Rafael Nadal battles past Karlovic to reach semifinals

Indian Wells: Nadal battles past Karlovic to reach semifinals

Rafael Nadal defated Ivo Karlovic 5-7 6-1 7-6 to reach the semi-finals of the Indian Wells ATP tournament.

Next for the world number 1 is Juan Martin del Potro, who wadvanced after Tommy Robredo pulled out of their match due to a strained left abductor muscle.

The first set went with serve until Nadal was broken in the 11th game and Karlovic held serve to clinch win it.

Nadal stormed past his opponent in the second set breaking serve in the second and fourth games.

The third set was tight like the first one and went into a tiebreak with neither able to break.

The Spaniard raced into a 5-2 lead but Karlovic fought back to 5-5 before saving match points at 5-6 and 6-7.

Nadal earned his third match point of the night with an inside-out forehand crosscourt winner and he converted when Karlovic hit a forehand floated to seal the tie breaker and the win.

“It was an unbelievably difficult match,” Nadal said. “This was the first one (of the tournament) that I felt really that even if I play well, I can lose. That’s always hard, to go on court with this feeling.

“You lose a set against Karlovic, and you are under pressure the rest of the games of the match.”

“In the tiebreak I was really nervous,” Nadal added. “I returned fantastic but I didn’t put one first serve on court.”

Karlovic ended the match with a total of 23 aces.

“Right now, I’m a little bit disappointed because it was close,” the Croat said. “It could have also gone the other way, my way. It didn’t but, all in all, it was a good week for me, so I am happy.”

Ivo Karlovic Indian Wells Interview Thursday March 17th 2011

Ivo Karlovic Indian Wells Interview Thursday March 17th 2011

R. NADAL/I. Karlovic
5-7, 6-1, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was so close. What is your feeling right now?
IVO KARLOVIC: Right now? Well, right now I'm a little bit, you know, disappointed, because it was close, you know. It was only about two points.
So it could have also went other way, you know, my way. But it didn't, so...
But all in all, it was good week, you know, for me, so I am happy.

Q. You won a lot of fans here tonight. Your game looked very elevated, like you played much better than you played all week. Is that accurate or inaccurate?
IVO KARLOVIC: Well, I mean, this week I was playing really well. I think also from the back volleying was really good.
Today it was a little bit different match, because he's, I mean, better than all the others, you know. But it was close. I could have also won, so I don't know what to say.

Q. Congratulations. Great match, by the way.
IVO KARLOVIC: Thank you. Thanks.

Q. It seems you are very close to your best level. What do you think?
IVO KARLOVIC: Well, yeah, I mean, I was injured last year for eight months all in all, so it was not easy this year. But this week I am really satisfied with the way I was playing matches, the way I was moving on the court, I mean, finally.
So I think from now it should only can get better.

Q. Your first serve percentage was quite a bit higher in the third. I think it was 83%. Was that just kind of feeding off the energy and refocusing for that set?
IVO KARLOVIC: Well, I mean, in the second set I didn't serve as well. I don't know. But in the third set I begin to serve well again. Yeah, it was also the whole crowd, you know, so maybe that's why. I don't know.

Q. Do you serve better when there is more pressure, third set, deciding set, big crowd?
IVO KARLOVIC: I don't know. I guess.

Q. You had a surgery?

Q. How was it difficult to come back after eight months when you were 31 or 32 years old?
IVO KARLOVIC: Yeah, it was not easy because I could not run, you know, because it was healing, so I could not run; I could not even walk.
So my physical went down, yeah, so I had to do all over, you know, from the beginning, like walking first and running a little bit more and more. So it was not easy, you know.
After, when I begin to play, then also it is not easy, because your eyes just lose the reaction and you don't know sometimes what to do on the court. Because when you are out for so long, it's not easy to come back.
But this week it was good, you know, so hopefully from now on it will only stay like this or better. I don't know.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Videos: Rafael Nadal vs Ivo Karlovic QF Indian Wells 2011

Videos: Rafael Nadal vs Ivo Karlovic QF Indian Wells 2011

Enjoy more tennis videos of the quarterfinal match between Rafael Nadal and Ivo Karlovic at the BNP P{aribas Open ....

Videos: Indian Wells Thursday Highlights and Hot Shot - March 17th 2011

Videos: Indian Wells Thursday Highlights and Hot Shot - March 17th 2011

Watch highlights of Thursday's quarter-final at the BNP Paribas Open, featuring Rafael Nadal versus Ivo Karlovic.

Plus, Nadal provides the Hot Shot of the day after hitting agreat a running winner in ....

Watch Live Matches. Video courtesy of Tennis TV.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Karlovic and Ancic out of US Open

Karlovic and Ancic pull out of US Open

Ivo Karlovic and Mario Ancic announced that they are pulling out of the 2010 U.S. Open because of injuries.

Karlovic had surgery on his left Achilles’ tendon and hasn’t played since the Madrid Masters in May.

Ancic, currently ranked 469th, has a back injury and will be skipping a seventh straight major championship.

Dustin Brown and Tobias Kamke move into the main draw.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ivo Karlovic withdraws from Wimbledon with foot injury

Ivo Karlovic withdraws from Wimbledon with foot injury

Ivo Karlovic, who was seeded number 25, has withdrawn from Wimbledon with a foot injury.

In 2009 Kalovic reached the quarterfinals but he has been bothered for months by an Achilles’ tendon injury in his right foot that also forced him to miss the French Open.

With his withdrawal, Victor Hanescu was elevated one spot into the seedings at No. 32.

The main draw for the 2010 Wimbledon tennis Championships will be made on Friday.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Moya and Karlovic out of Roland Garros

Moya and Karlovic out of Roland Garros

Ivo Karlovic has withdrawn from the French Open with a right foot injury and is doubtful for Croatia’s Davis Cup quarterfinal series against Serbia.

Karlovic says his Achilles’ tendon has been bothering him for months. He added that he wants to play at Wimbledon and in the Davis Cup, but his health is most important. He says he will make a final decision after more medical tests.

Carlos Moya also announced he won't be playing at Roland Garros this year joining David Nalbandian who pulled out a few days ago.

Robby Ginepri, Taylor Dent and Kei Nishikori were moved up into the main draw.

Del Potro, Davydenko and Blake are other tennis players that will not be playing in Paris.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Davis Cup: Croatia beats Ecuador 3-0

Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic won their doubles tennis match to seal a 3-0 win over Ecuador
Davis Cup: Croatia beats Ecuador 3-0

Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic won their doubles tennis match to seal a 3-0 win over Ecuador.

Cilic and Karlovic defeated Nicolas and Giovanni Lapentti 7-6 6-3 7-5 today to advance to the Davis Cup quarterfinals.

“Even I didn’t expect it to be that easy,” coach Goran Prpic said. “This gives us a confidence to believe that we can move further than last year,” he added.

Croatia will next face either Serbia or the United States. Serbia led 2-1 ahead of Sunday’s reverse singles.

The Croats were broken to give Ecuador a 1-0 lead in the second set before winning four games in a row to take control for good.

“When we won first set, we relaxed,” Karlovic said.

The reverse singles, in which youngsters Dodig and Veic will play for Croatia, are scheduled for Sunday.

“It wasn’t one-way traffic in the doubles, it was as tough as we expected it to be and we are overjoyed to have secured a berth in the last eight,” Cilic said in a courtside interview.

“Sunday’s reverse singles will be a great chance for our second-tier players Antonio Veic and Ivan Dodig to impress and we hope the fans will turn up in numbers once again to cheer them on,” he added.

Croatia team captain Goran Prpic praised Ecuador’s brave resistance and congratulated his players for their efforts.

“We got into our stride once we started returning serve to the best of our abilities and we now have a good chance of emulating last season’s success, when we reached the semifinals of the competition,” he said.

“A quarterfinal clash at home with Serbia looks on the cards and if we meet them it will be a delicately balanced tie.”

Source Davis Cup and Reuter
Photo AP

Davis Cup: Croatia gets 2-0 lead over Ecuador

Marin Cilic
Davis Cup: Croatia gets 2-0 lead over Ecuador

Marin Cilic defeated Giovanni Lapentti 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 to give Croatia a 2-0 lead over Ecuador at the Davis Cup. Earlier, Ivo Karlovic beat Nicolas Lapentti 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4.

Cilic dominated the first two sets, losing only three points on serve. Lapentti broke Cilic for the first time at 2-2 in the third set, but was immediately broken again. Cilic won crucial game at 4-3 in the third set and served out for victory.

Karlovic needed five sets to beat Nicolas Lapentti. He won five consecutive games to take a 5-1 lead in the opening set, but Lapentti fought back to win two following sets. Dr Ivo recovered to win—but only after sending down 36 aces in a match that lasted nearly four hours.

“I started well but he came back strongly to win the next two sets and I was really happy to claw victory from the jaws defeat after coming from behind,” Karlovic said. “My serve is my most powerful weapon and it didn’t let me down, but I knew this was never going to be an easy match,” he added.

“Things got a bit complicated in the third set when he broke my serve but then I moved up a gear and closed out the match,” Cilic said. “I was never stretched because I didn’t underestimate Giovanni at any moment and we are delighted to head into tomorrow’s doubles with a 2-0 lead,” he added. “Hopefully, we will be able to finish the job on Saturday but we have to be fully focused because the Lapentti brothers showed today that they are not easy to play against.”

The winner from this Davis Cup tie will meet either Serbia or the United States in the quarterfinals.

Photo Ap
Source Reuters/AP

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Davis Cup: Croatia vs Ecuador Schedule and Draw

Davis Cup: Croatia vs Ecuador Schedule and Draw

Ivo Karlovic opens play against Nicolas Lapentti while Marin Cilic will face Giovanni Lapentti in the second tennis match on Friday.

The full draw is as follows:

Ivo Karlovic (CRO) v Nicolas Lapentti (ECU)
Marin Cilic (CRO) v Giovanni Lapentti (ECU)

Ivan Dodig/Antonio Veic (CRO) v Nicolas Lapentti/Giovanni Lapentti (ECU)

Marin Cilic (CRO) v Nicolas Lapentti (ECU)
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) v Giovanni Lapentti (ECU)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Delray Beach: Ernests Gulbis reaches first career final

Delray Beach: Ernests Gulbis reaches first career final
Delray Beach: Ernests Gulbis reaches first career final

Ernests Gulbis has reached his first ATP career final and will play against Ivo Karlovic at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships for the title.

Gulbis scored a 6-4, 6-4 win over Jarkko Nieminen, while Karlovic upset Mardy Fish 6-2, 6-3.

Karlovic will face Gulbis for the first time on the same day he celebrates his 31st birthday.

"I was playing really well," said Karlovic. "I don't remember when I've played like this. It was really cold so I didn't have that many aces, but everything else was really good."

Gulbis was serving for the match at 6-4, 5-4 when rain interrupted play for just over three hours. It took him two minutes to serve out the match when they went back on court.

"I'm mentally stronger than I was," Gulbis said. "I feel different on court. I think I'm playing a lot smarter I think, I hope. I was ready from the first point."

Nieminen is on the comeback after a groin injury, wrist surgery and the swine flu sidelined him for most of last season.

"I thought I didn't do too much wrong in the whole match," he said. "He didn't give me too much margin in making an error because he was serving huge."

Source reuters/AP
Photo AP

Friday, February 19, 2010

John Isner into semi-finals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships

John Isner into semi-finals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships

John Isner beat ivo Karlovic 6-1, 7-6and made it into the semifinals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis.

“This is a dream start to the season,” said Isner. “Everybody wants to do well at the beginning of the year and I’ve done that so far. It’s only my third tournament of the year and I already have 11 match wins. That’s pretty big so far."

A match between the two giants was expected to be dominated by serve, but in the first set Isner broke Karlovic serve twice to seal a one-set lead.
In a closer second set, Karlovic had four chances to force a deciding set, but the Croatian was denied at 6-5 on Isner’s serve, and three more times in the tie-break before John prevailed after 76 minutes.

“I was a little bit fortunate,” admitted Isner. “I think he started off a little cold and I was able to capitalise on that and get ahead early. I knew the second set was going to be a lot tougher. I knew he was probably going to start serving better and it was probably going to come down to a point here or a point there. It did.”

Isner next plays Philipp Petzschner, who defeated Lukas Lacko 6-1, 1-6, 6-1.

“He’s won an ATP event indoors before, so he knows how to play indoors, that’s for sure,” commented Isner. “He slices his backhand, that’s going to present some problems for me. He’s fast; he can also mix the pace up really well too. I’m going to have to serve well and take my chances on return games and try to force the issue."

Source ATP

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Australian Open: Rafael Nadal survives Karlovic to reach quarterfinals

Australian Open: Rafael Nadal survives Karlovic to reach quarterfinals
Australian Open: Rafael Nadal survives Karlovic to reach quarterfinals

Rafael Nadal beat Ivo Karlovic 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-4 after two hours in 36 minutes of play to advance to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open 2010 tennis tournament where he will face Andy Murray.

The match went on serve for most of the first set, as Nadal struggled to make inroads on Karlovic’s serves. The Croat had only 56% of first serves and seven aces.

Nadal scored a break in the ninth game at 15-40, and he broke on his third opportunity with a dipping return.

Nadal consolidated the break to take the set.
In the second set, Karlovic put Nadal’s serve under pressure in the second game, but was unable to convert thanks to some excellent shotmaking from Rafa.

Games went on serve for the rest of the set until 5-4 when Karlovic broke to love and claimed the set.

Nadal pick up his game and played a terrific third game, flashing a forehand winner, scampering to track down a drop shot and flicking a winner crosscourt, smacking a backhand return winner and hooking a brilliant passing shot off the back foot to break Karlovic for a 2-1 lead in the third set.

Nadal held serve and maintained his advantage for the rest of the set.

Im the fourth set Nadal broke Karlovic in the third game and games went on serve for the remainder of the match.

While serving for the match Nadal did not falter. An athletic backhand smash and a perfect drop volley helped him to 40-0, and he served out the match after forcing an error from Karlovic’s racquet.

Nadal likened facing Karlovic’s serve to a penalty shootout in soccer. “You go to one place,” he explained. “You try to see where he put the ball, where he tosses the ball. But you know a lot of times he change. Today the match is probably one of the most difficult matches to play well because is without rhythm all the time. So the victory is the only thing in this kind of match, no? I did. I think I returned aggressive. When I had a chance to touch the ball, I did well.”

About playing Murray Nadal said: “First thing is he is very good. Yeah, he's one of the most talented players on tour. He can play offensive, he can play defensive. He can do a lot of things during the same match. So that's a most important thing.

“(Secondly) he's a big player, and he's a winner.”

Source AO/AP
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Ivo Karlovic Australian Open Interview Day 7 January 24th 2010

Ivo Karlovic Australian Open Interview Day 7 January 24th 2010

Q. You served 28 aces today, but it wasn't enough. How important is that to you, that part of your game?
IVO KARLOVIC: I mean, it is my biggest weapon. So of course it's the key to every match.
But, I don't know, like all in all it was good week. You know, I had chances which I didn't take, and that's it. That's it.

Q. Is there another part of your game you need to work on especially?
IVO KARLOVIC: No (smiling).

Q. Can you give us an idea of where Nadal's game is at the moment?
IVO KARLOVIC: Well, I mean, he is very athletic. He is playing fast from each angle. And it is difficult against him, very difficult.

Q. Can you offer a view of him playing against Murray, how that matchup might be?
IVO KARLOVIC: I really don't know. I really don't know.
I just lost, and I don't really care about it. Sorry.

Interview from AO

Friday, September 18, 2009

Davis Cup Semifinal: Radek Stepanek wins six-hour epic

Davis Cup Semifinal: Radek Stepanek wins six-hour epic

Radek Stepanek defeated Ivo Karlovic 6-7 7-6 7-6 6-7 16-14 in an extraordinary match lasting nearly six hours as Czech Republic took a 1-0 lead over Croatia in Davis Cup semi-final.

“I have no words right now, it was like a lottery and I managed to seize my chances,” said Stepanek.

“It was a long and exhausting match but when you play for your country it’s worth it. It wouldn’t matter if it lasted for another few hours.”

During the match Karlovic served 78 of them, breaking the Davis Cup record by 31 and the world record by 23 but it was not enought to give Croatia the first point.

Karlovic was first to inflict trouble when he broke Stepanek in the second game of the match but the Czech paid back the Croat in the next game. However, Karlovic had chances to score another break a game later only to have Stepanek save them. The set was free of break points and they went into the tiebreak which the very tall Croat took control of from the outset.

But his command of the break began to unravel as Stepanek whittled down the set points from four to one. He lost the set when Karlovic forced him into an error.

The second set followed a similar path and if it were possible the noise level seemed to be increasing. Rattles had now been brought into the mix with the bugles and drums but it was a fantastic and colourful setting. It did however seem as though the Czech supporters were out numbering the Croats, for certain their flag was way more prevalent than the local one.

Karlovic twice survived break points on his serve and in the breaker it was Stepanek who took control this time but like Karlovic in the sect before he only won it narrowly with a superb forehand cross court volley.

Once more the third set rolled on without a service break as the crowd support was evenly distributed. If one closed their eyes and tried to distinguish who had won a point by the cheers from the crowd it would have been pretty difficult. Normally the decibels from home crowds would compare to Concord on takeoff, but not here because they were being matched vocal cord for vocal cord.

Karlovic had the tiebreak on his racket string. He had 3-0 with a double mini-break and then had 4-1 but that wily Stepanek played some great points to win five of six points and then closed it 8-6 when Karlovic ran around his backhand and sent the forehand into the net.

The final set was a battle royale. How the two of them kept the pace up was a credit to their fitness. Neither was prepared to give an inch. The games were just ticking away and not a stoke slackened from either of them. The atmosphere levels were rising with every point and with every ball that was hit.

Stepanek just kept a level head with his shorts and the pressure of trying to stay ahead played on Karlovic and the Czech took his chance with the break. He served for the match but that didn’t seem like a foregone conclusion as Karlovic put the pressure on. However, Stepanek kept on returning and Karlovic over-hit the ball on match point three to surrender the epic and give Czech Republic the first point of the tie.

Information from Davis Cup

Monday, August 17, 2009

Karlovic upsets Monfils in Cincinnati first round

Karlovic upsets Monfils in Cincinnati first round

At the Master Series evetn in Cincinnati, Ivo Karlovic upsey Gael Monfils 6-4 6-7 7-6.

Karlovic won the deciding tiebreak 7-2 to advance to the second round after two hours, 10 minutes.

After taking the first set, Karlovic led 5-4 in the second-set tiebreak, with two serves to come, but Monfils reeled off three superb points in a row to force a decider.

The Frenchman saved three break points in the fourth game of the third set but Karlovic played a superior tiebreak. He will next play against Paul-Henri Mathieu, who beat Mischa Zverev 6-7 7-5 6-3.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Roddick beats Karlovic to reach Washington semis

Roddick beats Karlovic to reach Washington semis

Andy Roddick defeated Ivo Karlovic 76 76 to reach the semifinals of the Legg Mason Classic in Washington.

In the semis Roddick will play John Isner, who upset Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-7 6-2.

Roddick is two wins away from his fourth Washington title after overcoming the first two breaks of his serve in six career matches against the Karlovic.

After netting a volley to go down 1-3 in the first, Roddick broke back to get it to 3-4. Theyr reached the tie break, which Andy took control of by winning the first three points.

In the second set, Karlovic broke in the opening game, with Roddick hitting a ball out of the stadium in frustration.

His composure returned and after earning his second break, Roddick lost only five more points on his serve the rest of the way, while earning a mini-break to go up 4-3 in the tiebreaker.

"Being down an early break against Karlovic is a recipe for disaster," said Roddick, who has an ATP-best 29-6 record in tiebreakers this year. "I consider myself fortunate to get out it of it one time, much less two times."

Asked why Roddick has got the better end of tiebreakers between the two, including winning the past six, Karlovic said, "Luck, it's as simple as that."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Croatia upset U.S. 3-2 to reach Davis Cup semis

Marin Cilic
Croatia upset U.S. 3-2 to reach Davis Cup semis

Croatia powered into the Davis Cup semi-finals when Marin Cilic beat James Blake of the U.S. 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-2 in the first reverse singles on Sunday.

“This is one of the biggest matches of my career and I think I played great from the start to the end,” said Cilic whose success gave the home side an unbeatable 3-1 lead.

“It got a bit complicated in the third set when my legs felt a bit heavy and Blake took the initiative, but with the great help from the supporters I managed to regain my strength.”

Croatia extended their unbeaten record against the United States, 32-time Davis Cup winners, to 3-0 and now play the Czech Republic at home in the semis in September after the Czechs beat Argentina 3-2.

Ivo Karlovic had put Croatia 1-0 up on the opening day after coming back from two sets down to beat Blake 6-7 4-6 6-3 7-6 7-5. Cilic made it 2-0 in another five-set thriller by outlasting Mardy Fish who replaced injured Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick.

The Americans had high hopes of levelling the tie on Sunday after the world number one pair Bob and Mike Bryan easily beat Roko Karanusic and Lovro Zovko in the doubles on Saturday.

However, Croatia coach Goran Prpic’s decision to rest both of the first-choice players for the final ties proved crucial, as Cilic put up one of his best performances.

He said: “Blake took the initiative and played great in the third set and it was not easy for me to keep the rhythm at the same level the entire time, but the crowd gave me support when I needed it most.”

Blake said: “I felt I gave Marin a few too many chances. I played a little too passive, didn’t take as many risks as I normally do and he took advantage of it.”

Bob Bryan beat Roko Karanusic 5-7 6-3 7-6 in the dead fifth rubber to make the final score 3-2 to the home side after Karlovic was given a well-deserved rest.

Looking ahead to the semis, Cilic said: “The Czechs have a very strong team and it’s going to be tough, but with such a home crowd, I think we have a slight advantage and stand a good chance of reaching the final.”

Photo Getty Images
Info from Reuters

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Marin Cilic: “Ivo and I grew up on clay”

Marin Cilic: “Ivo and I grew up on clay”

This weekend Croatia will play against the US for the Davis Cup quarterfinals but what makes this tie particularly interesting is that clay is not the preferred surface of any of the singles players.
And while adjusting from clay to grass is part of the annual tennis circuit, going from grass to clay is much less common. All four singles players were involved at Wimbledon, Karlovic reaching the singles quarterfinals and Blake and Fish coming within two points of reaching the doubles final before losing to the eventual champions Nestor/Zimonjic.

But Cilic denies the choice of surface was a negative one to thwart the Americans. “Ivo and I grew up on clay,” he says, “and even though we’re quite tall, we move well and find our positions well on the court, so it’s a good surface for us to play the US team, and hopefully we can take advantage.”

James Blake draws Karlovic in Davis Cup opener

James Blake draws Karlovic in Davis Cup opener

James Blake knows the importance of winning the opening match in Davis Cup competition, and the American faces that task when he meets huge-serving Ivo Karlovic of Croatia.

Blake will lead the U.S. team in the quarterfinals after Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick withdrew because of a hip injury. Roddick pulled out Monday, a day after losing an epic five-set final to Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

"If you win, it relieves a lot of pressure for the second singles," Blake said after Thursday's draw for the best-of-five series.

The 6-foot-10 Karlovic reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals, losing to Federer. Karlovic served up a record 51 aces in a match last week at Wimbledon, and 55 at the French Open.

"You have to take chances of your rare opportunities against him, maybe in tiebreaks, and try to keep your serve," Blake said.

Mardy Fish, who replaced Roddick, will play Croatia's No. 1 Marin Cilic in the second singles on Friday.

Fish had to make last-minute schedule changes to arrive at the Croatian seaside resort.

"I'm obviously excited to fill in for Andy," he said. "That's my obvious role in the past couple of years."

This will be Croatia's fifth appearance in the quarterfinals, but it's bidding to reach the semifinals for the first time since winning the competition in 2005. Croatia has won 10 of its last 11 home ties.

Cilic, ranked No. 15, said Croatia's chances in the series are 50-50. He considers Mike and Bob Bryan, the top-ranked doubles team, as a major American advantage.

"Their almost-assured victories in the doubles in the Davis Cup have a huge influence," Cilic said. "They give a major boost to the single players to make them more relaxed."

In doubles play Saturday, the Bryan twins will meet Karlovic and Lovro Zovko. In the reverse singles on Sunday, Cilic will play Blake and Karlovic will face Fish.

The United States, the 32-time champion, has never beaten Croatia in Davis Cup competition. The two nations have met twice, in 2002 and in 2005.

The U.S., the 2007 Davis Cup champion, is bidding to reach the semifinals for the fourth year in a row. Last year, the Americans lost to eventual champion Spain in the semifinals.

The winner of the best-of-five series will face the Czech Republic or Argentina in the semifinal in September.