- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 1, 2009

WIMBLEDON, England | Roger Federer already has been through a “serving contest” at Wimbledon this year. It’s probably nothing compared to what’s coming next.

Federer used the term after his fourth-round match, which included two tiebreakers and only one break of serve. Up next in Wednesday’s quarterfinals is Ivo Karlovic, who makes a living smacking aces and service winners.

The 6-foot-10 Croat - the tallest player in the history of the ATP tour - has not been broken once in 79 service games this tournament and leads all players with 137 aces. He hit 46 of those in his third-round upset of No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a four-set win that included three tiebreakers.

Federer, however, has an 8-1 record against Karlovic - with 12 of the 22 sets ending in tiebreakers - despite few chances to show off his all-court game.

“I like those sorts of challenges,” said Federer, who is seeking his sixth Wimbledon championship and record 15th Grand Slam title. “It’s maybe not the most fun match to go through. But I like to beat this guy because he makes it hard on us to beat him.”

The quarterfinal round features players of eight nationalities with five Grand Slam tournament winners and four former No. 1s.

Federer plays the first match on Centre Court on Wednesday, which despite his immense popularity at the All England Club is seen by many Brits as merely the opening act for the second encounter, when Andy Murray takes on Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain.

On Court 1, two veterans are trying to get back to the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time in four years. Andy Roddick, the runner-up to Federer in 2004-05, takes on Lleyton Hewitt, who won here in 2002.

The fourth matchup features the oldest remaining player against the youngest, with the 31-year-old Tommy Haas taking on 22-year-old Novak Djokovic.

Ivanovic’s time off

Ana Ivanovic will rest for one to two weeks to recover from a thigh injury that forced her to quit her fourth-round match against Venus Williams.

The French Open champion said on her Web site Tuesday she has a small muscle tear in her left thigh. She said the injury is painful but not serious.

Ivanovic lost the first set against Williams on Monday, then won the opening game of the second set before stopping.

Ivanovic, once ranked No. 1, plans to play her next tournament in Los Angeles starting Aug. 3.

Defending the roof

A day after the first match played in its entirety under a roof at Wimbledon finished, the tournament’s organizers already were defending the conditions on Centre Court.

Murray beat Stanislas Wawrinka under the translucent roof and stadium floodlights 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. The nearly four-hour match ended at 10:39 p.m. local time, and Murray said afterward the humidity was so bad “it was like I’d been in a bath.”

Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of the All England Club, said he did not think the humidity was a “great factor.”

“I think he’s entitled to his opinion,” Ritchie said. “I’m sure on reflection he will look at what an enormous positive it was for him. If there was some humidity in the air, it wasn’t on the court. I think the court was bone dry.”

Later Tuesday, Murray addressed the matter again via his Twitter account, writing, “One last thing… i loved playing under the roof even if you’ve read different! the atmosphere was amazing, just very humid.”

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