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Federer survives a Karvolic scare

sports Updated: Nov 01, 2007 20:02 IST

AFP
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Ivo Karlovic broke Roger Federer's serve for the first time in his life, but couldn't stop the Swiss juggernaut from rolling into the third round of the Paris Masters.

Croatian Karlovic, the tallest man in tennis at a tree-topping 2.08 metres, went down 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 as world number one Federer played for the first time at the Bercy event since 2003.

Federer had gone 67 service games over four previous matches without a loss before Karlovic ended his duck to claim their second set.

But the Swiss top seed got straight back in harness, breaking to start the final set and rolling ahead against a man he had just beaten days earlier in the Basle semi-finals.

The match was the first between the pair that did not feature a tiebreak, the others all containing at least two deciders each.

"It's not easy to break his serve," said Federer, who did it three times. "I had to take my chances. At the end it was the perfect ending for me.

"Breaking him to start and end the final set was a good way to finish."

Federer, who won his seventh title of the season on Sunday, next plays Argentine threat David Nalbandian, who defeated him for the Madrid trophy last month.

Nalbandian put Spain's Carlos Moya out of the race for the season-ending Masters Cup earlier, 6-4, 6-4.

"Honestly, he is the guy you would expect to be playing in a final, not the second or third round. It will be another tough one and I have to be ready for a quick turnaround," said Nalbandian.

Rafael Nadal began his build-up for the season-ending Masters Cup by beating Filippo Volandri 6-3, 6-1.

Nadal, at home in the capital thanks to three straight Roland Garros crowns on clay, is trying his luck for the first time on the opposite side of town - indoors at the Bercy arena.

While still feeling the effects of the knee tendinitis which has plagued him since the summer, the Spanish world number two is concentrating on whipping his late-season game into shape.

"I didn't play my best tennis today, but I played a serious match," said Nadal, long qualified for the eight-man Masters Cup starting a week from Sunday in Shanghai.

"I didn't do anything special, I played a normal match and tried to get confidence. I want to get more feeling on the ball."

Nadal played only Madrid in the wake of his fourth-round US Open upset two months ago.

He is one of six men already into the elite Shanghai field, with the last two positions currently being decided this week at the final event of the ATP regular season.

Two open slots remain to complete the year-end lineup with 13 men still in with a chance. Qualifiers already include: Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko, Andy Roddick and David Ferrer.

German Tommy Haas is in provisional eighth place while number seven Fernando Gonzalez missed a chance to clinch a spot after losing in the second round on Tuesday to Mikhail Youzhny.