14 April 2018 | AAP

Nick Kyrgios produced a trademark tweener to delight fans at the US Men’s Clay Court Championship but it could not prevent a three-set defeat to veteran Ivo Karlovic.

The Australian fourth seed’s quarterfinal party piece in the first set, in which he volleyed the ball from just inside the baseline for a clean winner, was a highlight but he eventually succumbed to 2007 Houston champion Karlovic 3-6 6-2 6-3.

Kyrgios, who served just three aces, appeared to be hampered by his troublesome elbow as the match progressed. His world No.88 opponent, by contrast, hit 18 aces and was broken just once, in the opening game.

The 39-year-old Karlovic became the oldest semifinalist in an ATP event since Jimmy Connors, at 40, in 1993 and was delighted to claim a first win in five matches against Houston.

“It’s definitely a huge win. I lost against him every match up until now,” said Karlovic, the 2007 Houston titlist. “I’m really happy that I won today.”

The Croatian, who is the tallest player to play professional tennis at 211 cm, will play Tennys Sandgren in the semifinals after the American defeated Guido Pella 4-6 7-5 6-3.

In the other half of the draw, an all-American semi-final awaits with the last eight pitting second-seeded Jack Sock against Taylor Fritz while top seed John Isner faces Steve Johnson.