By Florian Heer
(May 23, 2014) DUSSELDORF – On semifinals Friday, at the second edition of the Düsseldorf Open, ATP young shooting star Jiri Vesely met seventh-seed Ivo Karlovic for the first time. The 20-year-old Czech, who rose to a personal best No. 67 in the world rankings at the end of March, contested his first ever ATP World Tour semifinal. Karlovic has made it into the final four stage at a clay court event for the first time since Houston three years ago.
On Thursday, the Croat took out Düsseldorf’s defending champion Juan Mónaco in a tight match winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and Vesely ruined Jürgen Melzer’s 33rd birthday party through a comfortable straight set victory in only 62 minutes.
Friday’s encounter should be a match dominated by the strong serves of both players. Nevertheless, Vesely had six break point opportunities in the opening frame, even one at set point, but wasn’t able to capitalize. In the unavoidable tie-break, Karlovic saved another set point and then eventually converted his only chance to take the first set after 61 minutes. Similar to what happened in the tie-break in the second set. Karlovic came back after being 0-4 down, saved two set points to eventually take advantage on his first match point and seal the victory with an ace winning 7-6, 7-6 in one hour and 55 minutes.
“It was a really close match today and I was down in both tie-breaks but I was able to get back to the right level and I’m happy to reach the final here,” Karlovic said afterwards. “Jiri is still very young and I believe that he will be an even greater player with more experience. I was totally focused in today’s tie-breaks, remained calm and that’s what paid off in the end,” Added the 35-year-old Croatian. Karlovic said he is looking forward to playing his second final of the season.
In the second semifinal, top-seed Philipp Kohlschreiber stepped into action facing Denis Istomin. Earlier the day, the German completed his quarterfinal match against Mate Delic, which was suspended due to darkness the night before, winning 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.
Kohlschreiber met Istomin for the fourth time and until today, he had never been able to gain a victory. The last defeat against the Uzbek took place in Munich only three weeks ago. On a sunny afternoon at Rochusclub, the 30-year-old German seemed to be highly motivated right from the beginning. Istomin lost his opening service game, which lasted ten minutes. The top-seed was in total control, dictated the rallies and consequently gained another break in the fifth game to serve the set out in the eighth. The world No. 57 from Uzbekistan, however, showed his efficiency in the second frame when he make the most of his only third break point to win the set in the tenth game.
Nevertheless, Kohlschreiber didn’t lose his focus, gained an early break in the fifth game of the final set to eventually serve it out after one hour and 54 minutes winning 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to reach his first ATP final of the season.
“Of course I’m very happy and satisfied that I could break my negative series against Denis today,” said a relieved Kohlschreiber said afterwards.
“My focus is on tomorrow’s final now. It’s always something special and there is nothing greater than ending a week full of tennis by lifting a trophy. In particular as it’s a final in Germany and I’m really looking forward to it. Nonetheless playing against Ivo is always special due to his height. His services are his biggest weapon, it’s difficult to find a rhythm and you need to be aware of everything. It will be a totally different match compared to today’s encounter.”
Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit. Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.
RESULTS – FRIDAY, 23 MAY 2014
Singles – Semi-finals
D P Kohlschreiber (GER) d D Istomin (UZB) 62 46 64
 I Karlovic (CRO) d J Vesely (CZE) 76(6) 76(7)
Singles – Quarter-finals
 P Kohlschreiber (GER) d [Q] M Delic (CRO) 75 46 61
Doubles – Semi-finals
 S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA) d  J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) 64 75
M Emmrich (GER) / C Kas (GER) d J Brunstrom (SWE) / F Nielsen (DEN) 60 75
SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 25 MAY 2014
CENTER COURT 1 start 12:00
 P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs  I Karlovic (CRO)
M Emmrich (GER) / C Kas (GER) vs  S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA)