Ivo Karlovic of Croatia celebrates his win against Horacio Zeballos of Argentina
Ivo Karlovic of Croatia celebrates his win against Horacio Zeballos of Argentina FILIP SINGER

Punter cashes in after marathon Open match

TENNIS: Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic has netted one lucky punter a cool $86,850 after winning one of the most incredible Australian Open matches ever seen at Melbourne Park.

The punter needed Karlovic to beat Horacio Zeballos in the final leg of his six-leg multi to claim the cash. Little did he know he would have to sit through a record 42-game fifth set that lasted over two-and-half hours alone.

Karlovic was two sets to love down before easily taking out the next two to force the deciding set, the longest ever played at the Australian Open.

Ultimately it was Karlovic's serve that got him over the line, blasting 75 aces to Zeballos 33.

The match lasted a mind-blowing five hours and 14 minutes.

But if Karlovic had it his way, the match - and the punter - would've been strung out even longer.

Karlovic (R) shakes hands with Zeballos after winning a record 84-game marathon that stretched more than five hours in the first round of the Australian Open
Karlovic (R) shakes hands with Zeballos after winning a record 84-game marathon that stretched more than five hours in the first round of the Australian Open

During the marathon match, the big Croatian said he thought about breaking John Isner and Nicolas Mahut's record-breaking epic at Wimbledon in 2010.

"I was thinking about that other match, Isner against Mahut. I was hoping little bit it could go this long so I could also have record. This is also good like this,” Karlovic said.

Despite the match being the second longest ever played at the Australian Open, the big-serving Croatian came through the battle in surprisingly good physical condition.

"(My) arm is good, but my knee, my back, little bit not so good. Elbow (as well). All in all, it's OK. Every day it's like this,” No.22 seed Karlovic said.

"I don't know (how I found the energy). Gatorades and water, I don't know. I mean, I began really bad. I didn't really feel good on the court.

"As the match was going on, it was little bit less hot also. So that kind of also gave me opportunity to be more, how you say, not tired. I was just trying to hang in there, just point by point.”


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