What Would @IvoKarlovic Do (With Twitter Trolls)?

Earlier today, after defending champ Nicolas Mahut lost his quarterfinal match against Sam Groth at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, he got a hate tweet. How did Nico deal with it? He tweeted it out, surely invoking the wrath of his fans against the angry loser of a bet.

Right after I saw that tweet, it was time to speak with 2 seed Ivo Karlovic. Now Karlovic is one of the funniest guys on twitter. But twitter clearly has a dark downside as well. So what would Dr. Ivo do when someone trolls him on twitter?

“There is a lot of them because they are betting and then when they lose the money, they are angry, but they should be angry at themselves, not at me. Usually, if it’s really mean, I block them, or I just answer about their mamas.”

Keep on tweetin’, Ivo!

And I don’t think you’ll have to block these girls anytime soon.

Karlovic Selfie

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Australia’s @SamGroth Reaches 1st ATP Semifinal With Superb Serve and Volley Attack @TennisHalloFame

Australia’s @SamGroth Reaches 1st ATP Semifinal With Superb Serve and Volley Attack @TennisHalloFame

Sam Groth

Nico Mahut

Sam Groth was called “the forgotten man of Australian Tennis” a few years back on a tennis fan site. He won’t be forgotten in Newport, as he made his first career ATP singles semifinal today by knocking out defending champ Nicolas Mahut. Groth executed a superb serve and volley attack plan to stun the Frenchman today. After the match, Groth reflected on his time away from the game, his faith in Coach Ben Mathias of the Australian Tennis Federation and the new faces of Australian tennis. On Saturday, Groth faces Ivo Karlovic for a spot in Sunday’s final.

Nico Mahut

Groth, Newport

Glamour Shots

Glamour Shot

Amazing @JohnIsner Fires 19 Aces @TennisHalloFame in Warm Up for Fenway Park Debut

Amazing @JohnIsner Fires 19 Aces @TennisHalloFame in Warm Up for Fenway Park Debut

John Isner got through his first round match at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, Rhode Island today.

Down 2 break points in the second set, he fired off four aces in a row to get out of trouble against Wayne Odesnik and advance in straights to the final 16.

Isner Sock & Shark

After that, Jack Sock made a surprise media appearance to fire off a question to Isner. Isner said he couldn’t even concentrate on the question, what with a two-time Grand Slam champion doing the asking.

Big John will do double duty this Tuesday as he’s already on his way to Boston to throw out the first pitch at tonight’s Red Sox-White Sox game. The way the Red Sox have played this season, Isner might be offered a contract, especially if he can hit a baseball a tenth as good as he can hit a tennis ball. The Red Sox are really that bad this year.

Interview with @LukeSaville18 of @TennisAustralia @TennisHalloFame 2014

Interview with @LukeSaville18 of @TennisAustralia @TennisHalloFame 2014

Luke Saville, Newport

Luke Saville burst onto the scene last month by winning his 1st pro match, at Wimbledon no less.

Today, he took a smaller but important step in his career by winning his 1st ATP tour match in straight sets at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Peter Polansky.

In 2 qualifying matches and the first round win, the young South Australian has dropped 0 sets and only 9 games in 3 matches.

That’s 9 games in 6 straight sets. Nice.

Luke Saville, Newport

Luke goes on to chat about Wimbledon, Nick Kyrgios and Lleyton Hewitt. Having been relegated to outer courts thus far in the tournament, Saville will get his day under the Center Court sun when he faces defending champion Nicolas Mahut tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. USEDT.

—-Stephan Fogleman, Tennis East Coast

Pro Debut Interview with @Mitch_Krueger @TennisHalloFame

For a first timer in the main draw of a tour event, Mitch Krueger had a great 1st set of tennis as an ATP professional yesterday. He had two set points in the tiebreak against Tatsuma Ito before falling just short. As Krueger himself said, Ito raised his level of play in the second set. Afterward, we talked about his confidence in the decision to delay college and the special excitement surrounding his first pro match being played at the Tennis Hall of Fame, a place where he hopes to be enshrined someday.

—S. Fogleman, Tennis East Coast

Pro Debut Interview With Clay Thompson @TennisHalloFame

Pro Debut Interview With Clay Thompson @TennisHalloFame
Stephan Fogleman, Tennis East Coast

UCLA’s Clay Thompson was in great spirits and thrilled to play his ATP Main Draw Debut on the grass courts of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships yesterday.

There was just one nagging question.

Why, oh, why did I have to draw Stevie Johnson?

It was as if the PAC-12 moved to Rhode Island for a day and I almost expected the Rose Bowl Parade to march down Bellevue Avenue in Newport. In the end, former USC phenom Johnson and his trove of pro tour experience was too much for Thompson in a 6-1, 6-2 loss. That said, we expect to see Clay winning plenty of matches on the tour in the near future.

2014 ATP Newport (@TennisHalloFame) Preview, Predictions

2014 ATP Newport (@TennisHalloFame) Preview, Predictions

Newport2014Site

As you may have imagined, we’re providing on-site coverage of the event for the third year in a row. Follow us on twitter @TennisEastCoast and check the blog for daily recaps.

ATP Newport
Hall of Fame Tennis Championships
ATP World Tour 250
Newport, Rhode Island, USA
July 7-July 13, 2014
Prize Money: $474,005

Top 4 seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: John Isner (11)
2: Ivo Karlovic (32)
3: Lleyton Hewitt (48)
4: Nicolas Mahut (54)

First Round matchups to watch:

Rajeev Ram. Newport

Rajeev Ram. Newport

Matt Ebden vs. Rajeev Ram
Ebden, who has had success on grass, is struggling and he could use a win against 2009 Newport champ Ram to help him find his form. They have met 3 times before, all on hard courts, and Ebden leads the h2h 2-1. In my opinion, Ram, who failed to qualify at Wimbledon, is a slight favorite here.

Hewitt in Newport

Hewitt in Newport

(3)Lleyton Hewitt vs. Ryan Harrison
Harrison beat Hewitt in DC last year, and the consecutive defending finalist Hewitt has really been struggling this season. Even on his favored grass, he is just 2-2 on the surface this year and lost to Jerzy Janowicz in Wimbledon round 2.

Harrison has been recently decent, as he qualified for Wimbledon before losing to eventual semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov in round 1.

Both players have struggled to maintain a high level of play recently and their skills come and go, though Harrison is much younger and healthier than Hewitt. This match is a toss-up to me, but I’ll give Hewitt a slight edge, considering experience and past history.

Top Half:

John Isner, ATP Newport, 2012 Copyright TennisEastCoast.com

Two time champ John Isner should cruise his way to the quarterfinals after beating a qualifier and Tim Smyczek or a qualifier. Isner fell in Wimbledon round 3 but competition is less daunting in Newport, and a quarterfinal meeting against most likely Ebden/Ram or perhaps Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock (after a transatlantic flight will face Alex Kuznetsov), likely would not be competitive.

Hewitt/Harrison are slated to face Marius Copil or a qualifier, and the winner of that round 1 meeting is likely to make the quarterfinals against the improving Steve Johnson, who faces wild card Clay Thompson of UCLA in round 1 in a battle between the LA schools (Johnson played at USC) and then wild card Mitch Krueger or Tatsuma Ito.

With so many Americans in the draw, I expect the quarterfinal between Johnson and Harrison/Hewitt to be epic.

Bottom Half:

Dr. Ivo

Dr. Ivo

Ivo Karlovic is struggling, having lost 3 straight. He opens with wild card Robby Ginepri and then Sergiy Stakhovsky or Farrukh Dustov. If Stako can find form, I favor him to make the quarters against Adrian Mannarino, a grass court specialist. He is struggling and faces another good grass player, Jimmy Wang, in round 1, and then Dudi Sela/Michal Przysiezny.

Mannarino just won a challenger and Stako made the Wimbledon third round, so the semifinalist here should be strong.

Defending champ Nicolas Mahut, who hasn’t had nearly as strong of a grass court campaign this year compared to last, and lost in round 1 of Wimbledon, faces Facundo Arguello, a clay courter, in round 1. After that, he would see Peter Polansky or a qualifier. Mahut should be tested in the quarters against one of Donald Young/Sam Groth/Ricardas Berankis/Malek Jaziri. All of these players have some aptitude on grass and if they get hot, especially Groth with his massive serve, could surprise. Young is not as good on grass and Groth/Jaziri should decide the quarter.

Dark Horse: Sergiy Stakhovsky

Sergiy Stakhovaky, 2012 ATP Cincinnati/Courtney Massey

Many players are dark horses this week. Given such a wide open field, Stakhovsky gets the official designation as I have him in the final. If his serve and volley game is on. he should excel this week against all possible opponents before the final.

Predictions
Semis:
Isner d. Johnson
Stakhovsky d. Mahut

Isner and Johnson have never met, and I do favor the vastly improved Johnson over Hewitt/Harrison in the quarters, but Isner should have too big of a game for Steve in the semis.

Johnson has worked on his mentality, his footwork and other parts of his game, and can compete at the ATP level now, but Isner will be too much. I favor Stako over Mahut based upon current form.

Final:
Isner d. Stakhovsky

Isner and Stako have a split h2h, but Isner won the fast surface meeting in ’09, and on grass, fortune seems to favor the much higher ranked Isner. Big John always plays his best on US soil. Look for him to notch his second ATP title of the season this week.

—Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast