Ivanisevic all aces in Croatian Indoor - 1999
ZAGREB, Croatia -- Top seed Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia fought off the challenge of fellow southpaw Greg Rusedski of Great Britain to capture his second consecutive Croatian Indoors tennis title Sunday.
Ivanisevic outlasted the unseeded Rusedski 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (8-6) to pick up the $54,000 first-prize check and claim his 18th career ATP Tour title. It was the first time in his career that Ivanisevic won the same tournament twice.
Ivanisevic stormed to a 4-0 lead in the third-set tiebreaker before Rusedski rallied to win the next four points. At 6-5, Ivanisevic double faulted on his first match point. However, Rusedski committed his eighth double fault of the match while serving at 6-7 to give Ivanisevic his fourth victory in as many career meetings with Rusedski.
The hard-serving Ivanisevic, who set an ATP Tour-record with 1,477 aces in 1996, blistered 22 past Rusedski for a total of 108 in five matches during the tournament. Rusedski, also one of the hardest servers on the ATP Tour, fired 19 aces against Ivanisevic.
Ivanisevic, who is currently ranked second in the world for only the second time in his career, improved to 3-1 in his last four finals on indoor carpet. In addition to his two victories in Zagreb, he prevailed at Milan and reached the finals at Antwerp last year.
Ivanisevic had his Australian Open run ended last week in the quarterfinals by Austria's Thomas Muster.
Rusedski, Britain's No. 2 player behind Tim Henman, was playing for his fourth career ATP Tour title. He captured the Beijing Open last October for his lone singles title of 1996.
Rusedski, ranked 56th in the world, also was trying to become the second Brit to capture a singles title this year, a feat not accomplished since 1976. Henman captured the Sydney International three weeks ago.
Ivanisevic stormed past fifth seed Javier Sanchez of Spain in straight sets in Saturday's semifinals. Rusedski needed just 64 minutes to dispose of second seed Thomas Enqvist of Sweden, also without dropping a set.