Andy Murray has never lost to Ivo Karlovic but the Brit is still predicting an awkward test when the pair meet in the last 16 at Wimbledon on Monday afternoon.
Murray overcame a shoulder complaint to beat Andreas Seppi 6-2, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 in the third round on Saturday while Karlovic sent down 41 aces en route to seeing off popular Frenchman, and 13th seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6.
That was the third consecutive match in which the Croat has rained down more than 40 aces – a tour-level record since 1991.
However, the head-to head record between the pair distinctly favours Murray, who has won all five of their encounters with each of Karlovic’s three set wins coming via tiebreak.
But the home favourite insists it would be remiss of him to underestimate the 36-year-old, who is the oldest man to reach the second week of Wimbledon since Niki Pilic in 1976.
“Obviously Ivo has served extremely well this tournament,” said Murray. “In Halle as well I think he served the record for three sets during his match with Berdych.
“It will be an extremely tough match. I’ll need to be very sharp on my returns and try to find a way to get as many of his serves back in play as possible and see what happens.
“Clearly he can hit angles that I’m unable to hit on the serve because he’s probably got an extra foot, foot-and-a-half of height with the length of his racquet and his arm.
“That makes it difficult to return. The grass helps in some ways because it’s not bouncing as high as it might on a hard court or a clay court.
“He serves and volleys too -– he’s a very solid volleyer. You can’t just pat the return back into play, you need to try to do something with it. So it’s tough.”
Murray is still on track to win a second Wimbledon title to add to his memorable triumph in 2013 but suffered an injury scare during his win over Seppi.
The third seed had the trainer on at the start of the fourth set to vigorously work on his shoulder.
That seemed to do the trick as the Brit promptly reeled off six games on the spin to seal the victory and he claims that the pain is manageable.
“It’s something I had the last two or three days. I only really feel it when I’m serving but it’s not something that’s of a major concern to me,” added Murray.
“It’s stiffness. And every time I finish a practice session or anything, I have my back manipulated.
“Clay, the physio, came on court and said it was like a machine gun going off when he laid on top of me. Literally my back cracked a lot and that’s been the case for the last few days.”
© Sportsbeat 2015