Kooyong Classic Croats tune up for Melbourne tennis with victories

The pre-Australian Open tune-up was forced into a last-minute schedule revamp when Gasquet withdraw citing an abdominal injury.

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Ivo Karlovic beat France's Gilles Simon at the Kooyong Classic as he and felow Croation Borna Coric limber up for the Australian Open play

Ivo Karlovic beat France's Gilles Simon at the Kooyong Classic as he and felow Croation Borna Coric limber up for the Australian Open

(AFP)
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Croat pair Ivo Karlovic and Borna Coric posted victories on Tuesday as the Kooyong Classic began with injured Frenchman Richard Gasquet pulling out.

The pre-Australian Open tune-up was forced into a last-minute schedule revamp when Gasquet withdraw citing an abdominal injury.

Karlovic was originally due to play German veteran Tommy Haas, 38, but was switched to play France's Gilles Simon, who had been due to play Gasquet.

The 37-year-old Croatian won 6-4, 6-7 (1/7), 10-7 in a tournament using the match tiebreak system in testing summer conditions.

"It was hot here," Karlovic said. "Even hotter than in Doha last week because it was night matches there. This was a good match to get acclimated to what is coming up at the Australian Open."

Fellow Croat Coric, 20, coming off a four-month injury break beat Australian Andrew Whittington 6-3, 6-4.

"It was a solid match, nothing special but I was hitting it OK and in the second set a little better," he said.

The final Tuesday men's match at the Kooyong club, which for years hosted the Australian Open, was due to feature Haas against Pole Jerzy Janowicz.

The four-day event has brought back women for the first time in two decades, with local teenage hope Destanee Aiava losing to Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 7-6 (7/4).