October 22, 2021

THE ONLY TENNIS SITE

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To prepare for Dr. Ivo, a little ingenuity is needed

INDIAN WELLS – When David faces Goliath, sometimes a little ingenuity is needed.

We’ve seen a few coaches get up on a chair to try to duplicate the effect of trying to return the huge serve of Ivo Karlovic, the 6-foot-11 Croat whose trajectory is, well, from the treetops.

But this is a first; Yoshihito Nishioka’s coach dragged a huge bench onto the court, and served to Nishioka from there.

They were all laughing at how ludicrous it looked, but you need every edge you can get when you’re listed at 5-foot-7, 141 pounds and you’re facing a giant.

Here’s what it looked like.

Whether it was the unique prep or not, it worked like a charm.

Nishioka, a lucky loser, upset Karlovic 6-3, 6-4 in the second round at the BNP Paribas Open. He limited Karlovic to a 76% effectiveness rate on first serves and 44 percent on second serves (Karlovic had 12 aces, but eight double faults).

Nishioka carved out four break chances – and converted on three of them.

He faces Tomas Berdych Monday for a chance to reach the fourth round. Nishioka was already at a career high of No. 70 entering the week; after this effort, he’ll move up even more.