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Gilles Muller, Ivo Karlovic set up veterans’ final in Den Bosch

Gilles Muller defeated Alexander Zverev while Ivo Karlovic won an all-Croat contest with top seed Marin Cilic in the Den Bosch semifinals. In Nottingham WTA tournament, top seed Johanna Konta beat Magdalena Rybarikova to set up a final against Croatia’s Donna Vekic.

tennis Updated: Jun 18, 2017 12:15 IST
Reuters/AFP
Reuters/AFP
Agencies
Ivo Karlovic,Gilles Muller,Den Bosch
Ivo Karlovic beat Marin Cilic to set up a final against fellow veteran Gilles Muller in Den Bosch on Saturday.. (Getty Images)

Luxembourg’s 34-year-old Gilles Muller and Croatia’s 38-year-old Ivo Karlovic set up a final between two of the tour’s veteran big servers at the Den Bosch grasscourt tournament in S-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, on Saturday.

Muller defeated Germany’s second seed Alexander Zverev, one of the circuit’s most exciting young talents, 7-6(5) 6-2 in the first semi-final.

Karlovic then won an all-Croat contest with top seed Marin Cilic 7-6(4) 5-7 7-6(2) despite not having been able to once break serve against his younger compatriot to set up a Sunday showdown.

Muller, seeded four, used all his experience against an opponent 14 years younger in romping through the second set.

After a tight first set, it was a disappointing ending for Zverev, currently ranked at a career-high number 10 in the world.

Karlovic, the tallest player in the men’s game at 2.11m, once again proved just how difficult he still is to beat as he crashed down 29 aces against Cilic, 10 years his junior, in a serve-dominated marathon.

Cilic was the only player to earn a break of serve in the two hour 46 minute contest as he levelled the match at one set all but Karlovic, who also had a match point at 6-5 in the third, won both tie-breaks handily.

On the women’s side of the draw, Estonian Anett Kontaveit beat Lesia Tsurenko to reach her second WTA Tour final, where she will play Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

The 21-year-old Kontaveit, at a career-high ranking of 49th, overcame a second-set blip to see off her Ukrainian opponent 6-3, 6-7 (0/7), 6-2.

Vikhlyantseva, 20, claimed an impressive 6-3, 7-5 victory in the other last-four clash over fifth seed Ana Konjuh to reach her maiden top-level final, as she continues a fantastic season that has seen her break into the world’s top 100 and make her first Grand Slam appearances.

Konta eases into maiden home final

Top seed Johanna Konta cruised past Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets on Saturday to set up a final in Nottingham against Croatia’s Donna Vekic.

The Briton reached her maiden WTA Tour final at home, and first on grass, with a comfortable 6-2, 7-5 win.

Konta, 26, was never in trouble against Slovakia’s Rybarikova despite having to wait until late in the second set to grab the decisive break.

The world number eight will be full of confidence as she looks to bounce back from a shock first-round exit at the French Open with her third title of the season against Vekic.

The 20-year-old Vekic came through a close encounter with former Roland Garros finalist Lucie Safarova 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), after two hours and 50 minutes.

First Published: Jun 18, 2017 11:55 IST