By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon
- Aljaz Bedene def. Ivo Karlovic  6-7(5) 7-6(6) 6-7(7) 7-6(7) 8-6
- Bedene faces Damir Dzumhur as he bids to get past the second round for the first time
LONDON, UK – Aljaz Bedene overcame the big-serving Ivo Karlovic in a five-set battle and faces the man he leant his kit to next!
Aljaz Bedene def. Ivo Karlovic  6-7(5) 7-6(6) 6-7(7) 7-6(7) 8-6
On a day jam-packed with Brits playing, Aljaz Bedene quite literally outlasted them all. It was a tough ask for the consistent, compact Brit to take on the serving arm of Ivo Karlovic. There may have been a few worried souls in the AELTC organisation as the encounter proved to be a battle of momentum against the veritable king of the tie-breaks.
To lose a set on a single mini-break on the last point must have been a body blow to the slight Brit. Karlovic had a couple of sniffs at his serve early in the second set, but was fended off by Bedene before more of a scrap in the second set tie-break.
Bedene needed three set points to get the job done to make it a three-set shoot-out. At the start of the third set it looked as though the pendulum was swinging back towards Bedene, this time putting the Croat under pressure. But despite serving for it at 7-6, Karlovic tipped the scales back in his favour, grabbing the third set.
The fourth set saw perhaps the most break point chances with Karlovic struggling to convert on the five looks he had on the Bedene serve and the Brit struggling to make good on two of his own.
Bedene must have thought it was déjà vu as he served for the fourth set, only to lose a mini-break, before wrestling the set away from Karlovic. The single break in the match came as Bedene converted on just a single match point.
Afterwards, he explained: “It wasn’t easy to see because he was getting actually tired. Basically the only thing he can do at the end was serve. I was still okay. I wouldn’t say I was fresh, but I felt good on the court. I was hoping we’re going to finish today, end the match.”
Bedene v Damir Dzumhur | First Meeting
Bedene could not be facing a more different style for his next match, as he looks to advance to the third round of Wimbledon for the first time. Damir Dzumhur is a grinder, and will chase everything down. Perhaps though, what he lacks at times is shot selection, and if Bedene can dictate from the back of the court, he ought to be able to work in some serve and forehand combinations that have been his strength.
He has been working on his fitness, and it showed in his first round match, and we can only hope he has recovered from a long opener, although there might be added incentive to win – he lent some of his kit to his friend Dzumhur before the tournament.
Bedene said: “I know Damir for a long time. I actually lent him two match shirts and two shorts for today’s match. He’s a really nice guy. We hang out a lot. But, matches are a different story. I wouldn’t say it’s any different because I will have to stay focused on myself, try to be ready, try to be 100% on Wednesday.”
On the subject of whether he can get his match-kit back in time for Wednesday’s match?
“He has to [give it back], right?”
Bedene will be scheduled to play his second round match on Wednesday.
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