- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) - Second-seeded Ivo Karlovic advanced to the finals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships for the second straight year, defeating fourth-seeded Jack Sock 7-6 (3), 6-4 on Saturday.

The 36-year-old Karlovic of Croatia will face American Rajeev Ram, a semifinal winner over Australian John-Patrick Smith 6-4, 7-6 (4).

The 24th-ranked Karlovic lost to Lleyton Hewitt last year at Newport. He’s looking for his seventh career ATP Tour title.

The 6-foot-11, hard-serving Karlovic had 14 aces, eight coming on second serves. He said his elbow has been sore since the French Open.

“It could be difficult against Rajeev on these courts,” he said. “Hopefully my arm will be all right and I’ll be able to produce those aces.”

The 31-year-old Ram won the title on Newport’s grass courts in 2009. He seems very comfortable on the surface.

“I go out there and I’m pretty confident with what I do is going to be tough to beat,” he said. “It’s a good feeling that the shots that I play are helped by the conditions.”

The 161st-ranked Ram defeated top-seeded John Isner in his opening-round match. He also knocked off fifth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France in the quarterfinals Thursday.

Karlovic, who saved two set points in the 10th game of the opening set, went up 4-0 in the tiebreaker by hitting a forehand passing shot just inside the baseline.

Sock had double-faulted on the first point of the tiebreaker after squandering a 4-1 lead in the set.

“This is my least favorite surface of all three of them so I’m very happy to be done with this season and head onto the hard-court season,” said the 22-year-old American.

In the second set, Karlovic broke in the final game. After saving one match point, Sock hit a forehand into the net.

The matches were played after induction ceremonies for the 2015 class of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo headed the class but was unable to attend because she is expecting her first child in early August.

In the first match, Ram broke in the third game of the opening set. The two players traded breaks early in the second before he forced the tiebreaker by closing out the 12th game at love with an ace.

Smith double-faulted on the first game of the tiebreaker. Up 4-3, Ram broke with a forehand passing shot just inside the sideline.

“That was a big point,” he said.

The match ended when Smith hit a service return wide.

Ram connected on only 54 percent of his first serves, 48 percent in the first set.

“My serve was not great, for sure,” he said. “I did pretty well with the way I handled my second serve. That was probably the key to the match.”

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