MADRID: Croatia’s Ivo Karlović hit 29 aces as he beat Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-7(5) 7-6(8) 6-4 in the first round of the Barcelona Open on Monday.
Karlović, both the oldest and tallest player at the clay-court tournament at 39 years old and 211 centimetres, used his thunderous serve to beat the former champion at the club he has trained at since he was 14.
Karlović will face another Spaniard in eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut on Tuesday in the round of 32.
Pablo Cuevas, Rogerio Dutra Silva, Guillermo García López, Marcel Granollers, Malek Jaziri, Leonardo Mayer, and Stefanos Tsitsipas all progressed in straight sets.
Dušan Lajović beat Pedro Martínez 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3, while Benoit Paire squeezed past Nicolás Jarry 7-6(4) 6-7(3) 6-4.
Tournament favorite Rafael Nadal will be looking to triumph for the 11th time at the event on the court named in his honour. He gets into action on Wednesday against the winner of Andreas Haider-Maurer against Roberto Carballés Baena.
Fresh from winning at Monte Carlo, Nadal is looking to take the Barcelona Open title for the third straight year.
“It’s a very difficult field and my draw is not going to be easy,” the 31-year-old told a news conference on Monday. “I will have some tough opponents. I will need to play very well.”
Nadal will face Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals should both players reach that stage.