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Saturday, June 23, 2007
Nottingham win earns unseeded Karlovic second career title

Associated Press

NOTTINGHAM, England -- Ivo Karlovic hit 21 aces, including one at 153 mph, to earn his first Nottingham Open title Saturday with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Arnaud Clement.

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The win gives the Croat his first title on grass heading into Wimbledon, which starts Monday. Andy Roddick has the fastest serve on record, 155 mph in 2004.

"To tell the truth I didn't really expect to win," said Karlovic, who won his first ATP tour title in April on clay in Houston. "I came here to play a few matches, I was the last player in the draw."

The eighth-seeded Clement had played two matches Friday -- defeating top-seeded Richard Gasquet, then Jonas Bjorkman -- on an indoor hardcourt because of rain.

His fatigue showed in the second set, when he saved three set points before a Karlovic passing shot forced a deciding set. Karlovic made the decisive break of serve in the 10th game of the final set.

The two had met three times before, with Clement victorious both times on grass -- in the quarterfinals at Queen's 10 days ago, and in the first round at Den Bosch, Netherlands, in 2004.

"I had a very good chance to break him in the second set," Clement said. "After that there was nothing especially wrong, he played better than last week for sure when I beat him at Queen's."