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No. 2 seeded Karlovic advances to semis at Newport

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Second-seeded Ivo Karlovic advanced to the semifinals at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships for the second straight year, beating Germany’s Dustin Brown 7-6 (3), 6-3 on Friday.

The 36-year-old Karlovic, from Croatia, was a runner-up to Leyton Hewitt last year.

Coming off reaching the round of 16 at Wimbledon, the 6-foot-11, hard-serving Karlovic had 23 aces, ending the match with one down the middle at 133 mph.

Karlovic will face No. 4 seeded Jack Sock, from the U.S., after he advanced when qualifier Jan Hernych, of the Czech Republic, retired with a left knee injury in the second game. There was no updated from an ATP spokesman on the extent of the injury.

American Rajeev Ram will face Australian John-Patrick Smith in the other semifinal Saturday after induction ceremonies into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Two-time major champion Amelie Mauresmo of France heads the 2015 class that’s scheduled to be enshrined during a center-court ceremony.

The 36-year old, who is now Andy Murray’s coach, won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2006 and spent 39 weeks at No. 1 in the WTA rankings. Mauresmo, hired to work with Murray last year, is pregnant and unable to travel to the ceremony.

Karlovic didn’t just overpower Brown. He mixed it up in his final service game, sending one toward the outside at 104 mph to move ahead 30-15.

After hitting an overhead winner at the net, he closed it out with his powerful serve, showing the change-of- pace that made it tougher for Brown.

“That’s what I try to do,” Karlovic said. “They never know where I’m going to hit it and how I’m going to hit it.”

At one point, Brown fired his racket to the ground.

“You guys saw the match,” he said. “Obviously I was frustrated or I wouldn’t have thrown the racket.”

Karlovic had four of his aces in the tiebreaker and hit a forehand service winner.

“It’s tough when you lose a match like that,” Brown said. “It was virtually even. He’s so big it’s virtually impossible to pass him.”

Brown upset Rafael Nadal earlier this month in the second round at Wimbledon.

The 22-year-old Sock, ranked 39th in the world coming into the week, knows his toughest task will be returning Karlovic’s serve.

“I’m going to have to guess well tomorrow and see if I can read it at all,” he said. “It’s tough out here on this surface. You never know how the ball will bounce. Hopefully my scrapping abilities can come out and I can get it done.”

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