Men’s Final:  Ivo Karlovic (CRO) vs.  Gilles Muller (LUX)
There was nothing much separating these two opponents. They have contested every set they played in tiebreaks, and their head-to-head was tied at one match apiece. Thus, it was no surprise that today’s match would include more tiebreaks. While Muller won his first singles title in 2017 after the age of thirty, he had been to five previous finals before finally making the break through on the sixth attempt. Karlovic on the other hand had been to seventeen previous finals and had eight singles titles to his name, so if there was a slight advantage today it went to the Croat. However, was it really a significant advantage? Would the age advantage be more important in this match for Muller?
Karlovic played a tough three-setter yesterday against his countryman, Marin Cilic. While fatigue usually does not come into play on grass, it may have been a bit much for the thirty-eight year old Croat to come out sharp today. He relies so much on his serve and if there is even some slight fatigue mentally or physically, it will affect his serve. While neither player was broken during the match, it was the slight dip in serve on Karlovic’s part that cost him the match. He was not his usual accurate self and that was the slight chink in the armor that Muller needed. Muller won 7-6(5), 7-6(4) to claim his second career title of the season and his first grass court title.
It seems that the trend continues; players are playing better later on in their careers. The benefit of experience is finally paying dividends, in part because of better equipment and their improved physical fitness. That’s awesome for the game as more players will be inspired to improve their fitness and keep playing much older than in previous eras.
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