In a matchup of a big serve vs. a strong returner, Ivo Karlovic takes on Andy Murray in the third round of the French Open on Friday.
6’11” Ivo Karlovic is known for his imposing size and his powerful serve. He leads the ATP Tour in career service games won at more than 92%. In his first two rounds at Roland Garros, he’s held 48 of 50 service games (96%). But in the third round he faces Andy Murray who is third on Tour this year behind Nadal and Djokovic in return games won (34% for 2016). Karlovic has broken serve just 3% of the time on tour this year. So far here at Roland Garros, Murray has broken serve 13 times in 2 rounds (30%). Murray has lost serve nine times in his 45 service games in his first two rounds.
Karlovic and Murray have played six times with Murray winning each time. But the matches have been close—eight of their sets have gone to tiebreaks with Murray winning five of the eight. The challenge for Murray is finding a way to break against the towering Karlovic, knowing that one poor service game on his part could determine the set.
Murray and Karlovic are a true contrast of styles—big-serving, hard-charging Karlovic vs. great returning, strong defender Murray. Strength in the air (serves and volleys) vs. strength on the ground (returns and groundstrokes). In the past it has been Murray who has been able to bring the high-flying Karlovic down to earth. Will that trend continue or will Karlovic be able to serve his way to an upset?
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