Federer to face Karlovic test again

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PARIS, Oct 31 (Reuters) Roger Federer will face Croatian Ivo Karlovic for the second time in five days when he enters the Paris Masters Series tournament today.

The world number one struggled to beat Karlovic 7-6 7-6 in the semi-finals of the Swiss Indoors in his home town Basel on Saturday.

Federer, who went on to win the tournament to make sure of finishing the season top of the world rankings for the fourth consecutive year, must face the tall Croatian's formidable serve again.

Karlovic fired 14 aces to beat Spain's Fernando Verdasco 4-6 6-3 6-4 in a first-round match yesterday and now stands in the way of the Swiss, who had a first-round bye.

Fifth seed David Ferrer of Spain moved past American Mardy Fish 6-1 7-6 in the second round and meets Czech Tomas Berdych, the 2005 tournament winner, who overcame Croatia's Mario Ancic 6-3 6-3.

German Tommy Haas, seeded ninth, moved closer to a Masters Cup spot by edging past Serbian qualifier Janko Tipsarevic 6-3 6-7 6-3, also in the second round.

Haas cemented his place at number eight in the ATP Race and kept alive his hopes of making the November 11-18 season finale in Shanghai featuring the world's top eight.

The German next meets Russia's Mikhail Youzhny, who also stayed in the hunt for one of the two remaining tickets to China by dumping Chilean Fernando Gonzalez, the seventh seed, 3-6 6-3 6-3.

''I like this tournament but I could never win a match here and this is my sixth year,'' grumbled Gonzalez, who showed signs of nerves and smashed his racket in anger at one stage.

MURRAY CRASH Finn Jarkko Nieminen beat Argentine Juan Monaco 6-4 6-4 to set up a second-round match against Britain's number one Andy Murray, who was involved in a car crash on his way to his Paris hotel on Monday but escaped unhurt.

Nieminen, who lost to Federer in the Basel final on Sunday, took just 69 minutes to move past Monaco.

Murray, seeded 15th, won the St Petersburg Open on Sunday and is also still in the race for a place in Shanghai.

Spain's Tommy Robredo, seeded eight, shrugged off a brave challenge from Frenchman Gilles Simon to win 6-4 2-6 6-4.

Fabrice Santoro, making his 14th appearance at the tournament, thrilled the home crowd by beating Spain's Albert Montanes 7-6 6-2 to set up a second-round clash with world number three Novak Djokovic.

''I don't know him well and I've never played him,'' the 34-year-old Frenchman said of his next opponent, who is 14 years his junior.

''Last year we trained here together and he asked me if he could have his picture taken with me. This time I think I will be the one to ask.'' Reuters BJR VP0520

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