Ivo Karlovic serves 12,000th ace but Gilles Muller wins landmark battle
Luxembourg's Gilles Muller out-aced the record-breaking Ivo Karlovic in a landmark battle of the big-serving veterans to lift the grasscourt title in Den Bosch on Sunday.
Croatia's 38-year-old Karlovic became the first man to ever pass the milestone of 12,000 aces as he blasted down another 19 yet he still could not stop his 34-year-old opponent coming out on top 7-6(5) 7-6(4) in the Wimbledon warm-up tournament.
"I think we should make a suggestion to the ATP that we just start with the tie-break next time! It's always tough to play Ivo and I'm glad I could beat him," said Muller.
With a combined age of 72, it was the oldest singles final on the ATP World Tour since Hong Kong in 1976 when 42-year-old Ken Rosewall defeated 30-year-old Ilie Nastase.
Muller, Luxembourg's best-ever player, has enjoyed a remarkable season, winning his second title of the year here after previously never having managed to earn one in 13 years of trying.
The left-hander even blasted 22 aces to outperform Karlovic, the most prolific purveyor of aces the game has ever seen, winning two tiebreaks after neither man had enjoyed even the sniff of a break point in the one hour 35 minute contest.