Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic, who scored just 12 wins in 2017 prior to Cincinnati, scored another important win here, taking down the 8th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 7-6 in an hour and 35 minutes for his 60th Masters 1000 triumph.
They played 3 times before and it was always a very close encounter, with 10 out of 11 sets being finished with 7-5 or 7-6, and this one was also on the edge, with Ivo winning just 3 points more than Tsonga. As was expected, both players served well and there were just 3 break points in the entire match.
Ivo saved 2, including a set point in the second set, and he broke his rival in the 5th game of the opening set to take the advantage. In fact, the set was decided in those two games, Karlovic fends off a break point and he scored a break after that when Tsonga double faulted.
Ivo brought the set home in game 10 with a volley winner and that gave him the advantage before the rest of the match. Tsonga served a little bit better in the second set and he had a set point in the 12th game, only to be denied with yet another service winner from Ivo.
In a very tight tie break, Croat converted his 3rd match point in the 18th point, taking the breaker 11-9 and booking the place in the third round. After reaching the semi-final in Rome and Roland Garros, world number 8 Dominic Thiem has not been in the best form, and he will be satisfied with today's 6-3 6-2 win over Fabio Fognini in just 66 minutes.
Everything worked fine for the Austrian, who had 21 winners and 17 unforced errors while Fognini stayed on the 13-26 ratio, never finding the right rhythm and missing too many balls. Dominic had a clear advantage in both the shorter and the longer points and he came as a deserved winner from their second meeting, scoring an easy win in 2015 as well.
Theim lost just 10 points in 9 service games, saving 2 break points to keep his serve intact, and he grabbed 47% of the return points, creating 7 break points and converting 3 for a commanding win. He found the right rhythm on serve from the very first game and he built an advantage early on as well, breaking Fognini in the second game.
Both players served well in the rest of the set and the Austrian won it 6-3, taking the last 14 points on serve. He opened the second set with a break as well and then went on to save 2 break points in game 4 to remain in front.
Those missed chances made Fabio losing his focus even more and he was broken at love in game 5, falling 5-1 behind. In by far the longest game of the match, Italian saved 3 match points on serve to reduce the deficit to 5-2 but it was all over when Thiem held in game 8 to push himself over the finish line.