Back in Zagreb closer to the start of the season, Marcos Baghdatis saved a match point en route to collecting an upset win over Ivo Karlovic in his hometown. Now, the enthralling contest can be relived in Paris, although this time with bigger stakes to play for. Overall, this marks the fourth time that Karlovic and Baghdatis will cross paths on the professional tour, with Baghdatis leading the head-to-head series 2-1.
As one of the players who have had little on-court time on the red dust, it is difficult to determine what to expect from Karlovic. He defeated Borna Coric in Bucharest before losing to Jiri Vesely the following round. He then followed up with another loss in the opening round of the Madrid Masters, where he fell to Richard Gasquet. He has remained off the tour since then.
Another similarly underworked player this clay court season in Marcos Baghdatis, who played three clay court tournaments ahead of the French Open. In a funny coincidence, he also has just three matches to his name on the surface, and, much like Karlovic, only managed to win his first match on the surface before suffering back-to-back losses thereafter. He is another player whose lack of court time makes him a questionable success at the event.
Apart from his awe-inspiring performance against Karlovic in Zagreb, where he was able to partially turn back the clock to save a match point and topple the towering Croat, Baghdatis has been the better of the two players in this head-to-head series. He holds another win against Karlovic back in 2008 and only lost to the big man when he retired from a contest in Metz that very same year. With a 2-1 lead in the series, it will be interesting to see if Baghdatis has another upset up his sleeve.
Prediction: Ivo Karlovic in Four Sets
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