MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic became the oldest man to reach the third round of the Australian Open for 40 years when he edged Japan’s Yuichi Sugita in five sets in withering heat on Wednesday.
Karlovic, 39 next month, served down 53 aces as he came through 7-6(3) 6-7(3) 7-5 4-6 12-10 in four hours 33 minutes — the longest match in the tournament so far.
He will face Italian Andreas Seppi in round three when he will be the oldest player to contest that round since Ken Rosewall, aged 44, in 1978 when the draw was only 64.
The 2.11 metre Karlovic finally got the decisive break in the fifth set in the 21st game and held firm to complete victory with a nerveless backhand volley.
Evergreen Karlovic, ranked down at 89 in the world, also reached the third round last year when he lost to David Goffin.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty