2014/04/18

Marin Cilic Stops Top Seed Tommy Haas to Win Fourth Zagreb Title

 

Marin Cilic-001

By Florian Heer

(February 9, 2014) ZAGREB – Top seed Tommy Haas and the tournament’s number five Marin Cilic faced each other in the final of the ninth edition of the PBZ Zagreb Indoors. The German had won two of the previous three meetings, including their last encounter in the semi-finals of Hamburg in 2012. It was also the eighth time in the nine-year history of Zagreb that a Croat has reached the final. The tournament’s “dream-final” led to an almost fully packed Dom Sportova with about 5,000 spectators attending the match.

Both players hit a couple of unforced errors in the beginning of the match and consequently lost each of their opening service games. Cilic gained another break in the sixth game when Haas overcooked two forehand shots from the baseline and eventually served the first set out after 35 minutes of play.

In the second set, it was again the German veteran, who struggled to hold his serve and Cilic gained the decisive break through a nice forehand long line winner in the seventh game. The Croat, who is coached by former world number two and ace-hitting-machine Goran Ivanisevic, served big in the following to consolidate the advantage and eventually closed the match out winning 6-3, 6-4 after 80 minutes. Cilic won his fourth ATP title in Zagreb – the tenth in his career – without dropping a set in the entire week and is now holding a tournament best 22-4 win-loss record.

Tommy Haas-001

During the on-court ceremony Tommy Haas, who normally always thanks all the linesmen and umpires at the end of a week, criticized the absence of the Hawk Eye System in Zagreb.

“The hawk-eye was missing,” the top-seed still said on court. “I don’t say that every time I complain about a call that I’m right. It’s tough out there watching the lines all the time but only a few millimetres can be crucial. Hawk Eye just helps to see if a shot was in or out and you’re used to it now as so many tournaments now have it,” Haas added at the news conference.

“Congratulations to Marin, I think he played a very solid match and served very well when he had to,” Haas said about the match. “I wasn’t able to play my best tennis today, in particular at the beginning. Marin played the big points better and deserved to win. Overall I was very happy and excited to be in the final here and now I try to build up from here and to continue staying healthy, which is the most important thing for me,” the 35-year old stated.

The winner was more than happy afterwards. “Today I played really well, probably the best tennis this week. Another positive thing is that I haven’t lost too much energy this week as I played all the matches in two sets. For my next two tournaments, which are in a row it’s an important thing,” Cilic said.

Doubles finalists-001

In the doubles final second seeded team of Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau won their first title together. Both started their campaign as a new pairing in Brisbane this season and played their fourth tournament in 2014. They defeated another new tandem on the Tour in persons of Philipp Marx and Michal Mertinak, who made their debut as a team. Rojer and Tecau fought back winning the match 3-6, 6-4, 10-2 after 68 minutes. The Dutchman took his tenth ATP World Tour Doubles title and the Romanian won his seventeenth tournament. The pair share € 23.000 in prize money.

 

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

Share

Marin Cilic and Tommy Haas to Meet in Zagreb Final

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic

By Florian Heer

(February 8, 2014) ZAGREB – Top seed Tommy Haas and the tournament’s number five seed Marin Cilic led Saturday’s semi-final line-up at PBZ Zagreb Indoors. They were joined by qualifier Björn Phau and lucky loser Daniel Evans. This special situation of having a qualifier and a lucky loser in the semi-finals of an ATP World Tour event has been the first one since Prague 1999.

 

In the first match of the day Marin Cilic took on Björn Phau. The defending champion seemed to be in good shape and hasn’t dropped a set yet this week. The German qualifier, No. 358 in the world, competed in his first semi-final since Houston five years ago and is the eighth player in the past five years ranked outside the top 300 to reach the stage of the last four on the ATP World Tour. Cilic made a nervous start to this match. Some shaky serves and a couple of unforced errors led to break points for the underdog in the beginning of the encounter. However, Phau wasn’t able to convert and eventually it was the Croat, who capitalized on his single break point opportunity in the eighth game of the opening set to take the frame in the following.

With Phau losing his opening service game in the second set, Cilic began to dictate the pace but the German, quick on his feet, immediately broke back by running the baseline from coast to coast. In the end, the fourth seeded Croat was the more consistent player and broke Phau’s serve three times in a row. Cilic advanced to guarantee a Croat in the final for the eighth time in nine years in Zagreb winning 6-3, 6-4 in 84 minutes.

“I have never played or practiced with Björn before,” Cilic said afterwards. “It was difficult for me to read his game and in particular at the beginning I was a bit struggling to get into the match but later on I felt much better on the court,” the Croat analysed. “Overall I think, from both of us, the match wasn’t on the best level, especially in the second set with a lot of unforced errors and service losses. Nonetheless I was trying to force the pressure and I really wanted to make into the final. In the end I managed to finish the job, no matter how,” Cilic stated. “Tommy has a pretty good record in the finals, so I think it would be better to face Evans tomorrow,” the local told about his possible opponent for the final.

 

Tommy Haas

Tommy Haas

In the second encounter Tommy Haas faced Daniel Evans for the very first time. The German veteran gained his first victories of the season here in Zagreb after falling in the second round after a bye in Auckland and a first round defeat at the Australian Open. Evans has become the first British player other than Andy Murray to reach the semis in an ATP World Tour tournament since James Ward advanced to the semi-finals at London’s Queen Club in 2011. Haas outclassed his opponent in the first two games of the match and the Englishman needed to wait six minutes to make his first point of the match in the third game. From then on Evans found his way into the match by getting the early break back. The Brit made it an even affair, gained a break in the eleventh game to take the first set in the following. At this point it became clear, that this should become harder work for Haas than he may expected. Nonetheless, Haas remained patient waiting for his chance to break in the tenth game of the second set and therewith took the frame. The 35-year-old German improved his play in the final set, gained the decisive break in the sixth game to eventually reach his 28th career final winning 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 59 minutes.

“I didn’t know much about Daniel,” Haas said afterwards. “But what I saw today was very nice to see. I like his game a lot. He plays with a good slice on his backhand and he also has a good serve. It’s always difficult to play against qualifiers, who won a couple of matches before and gained confidence,” Haas admitted Evan’s performance this week. “I’m very excited to be in another final. It’s great to play against an opponent, who is a big star in this country here and he obviously likes it here. A lot of things speak for Marin to do well here again but of course I’ll try everything to make his run stop tomorrow,” Haas said.

 

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

Share

Dan Evans Stuns Philipp Kohlschreiber in Zagreb to Reach Semis

Dan Evans

Dan Evans

By Florian Heer

(February 7, 2014) ZAGREB – After an exciting opening month of the season in Australia and Asia as well as the first round of the Davis Cup, ATP World Tour action returns to Europe. Leading the way at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors is world number twelve Tommy Haas, who is making his tournament debut and world number fourteen Mikhail Youzhny. Four of the top five seeds were in action on Friday at Dom Sportova. Two unseeded quarterfinalists met in the first encounter of the day when Dudi Sela took on Björn Phau for the fourth time. The German qualifier could only win one match before between the two but seems to be on a roll at this tournament. Phau advanced into the stage of the final eight by battling through the qualification and with victories over Ante Pavic and Mikhail Youzhny. The German is playing his first ATP World Tour event since falling in third round at Indian Wells in March last year losing to Juan Martin Del Potro. This is the German’s first quarterfinal since Stuttgart in July 2012. Sela, who played one quarterfinal this year before in Chennai was without any chance today. Phau, who already reached some good indoor results on Challenger level in the past, took the match winning 6-4, 6-3 in 69 minutes

 

The second match of the day guaranteed a Croatian semi-finalist for the eighth time in nine years in Zagreb when three times champion Marin Cilic faced Ivan Dodig. Cilic fired down fourteen aces on his way to victory over compatriot Mate Delic in the first round and he hit another twelve aces in a straight sets win over Serbian Dusan Lajovic in second round. Fourth-seeded Dodig opened his campaign with a 7-6, 6-3 win over countryman Ivo Karlovic but today he had to accept the fact that Cilic was the more consistent and luckier player in the decisive moments winning 7-5, 6-4 after one hour and 32 minutes.

 “Today against Marin it was a different match compared to yesterday,” Dodig said. “For me it was a little bit tough today to adopt Marin’s game. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for me, especially with my serve I am not happy at all today,” the fourth-seeded added. Cilic on the other hand celebrated his eighteenth victory out of his last nineteen matches in Zagreb. “I think that the key points were going on my side,” the winner analysed. “Especially in the end of the first set and at the beginning of the second when Ivan was not able to confirm his break. After that game we had new balls and it was tougher for him to gain the break back and in the final stage of the match I was also a bit lucky,” the defending champion admitted. “Of course playing with Ivan involve a lot of emotions, which sometimes is tough to deal with but I think I handled it very well today,” Cilic was satisfied with his performance as well as his mental strength.

 

A very first meeting took place with the match between Philipp Kohlschreiber and Daniel Evans. The German, who made his Zagreb debut yesterday defeating Andrey Golubev in straight sets, had to face a highly motivated British number two. The world number 147 entered the main draw by replacing the tournament’s seventh seeded Radek Stepanek, who withdrew due to a right heel injury. From then on Evans cruised past Jan Hajek and defeated qualifier Michael Berrer. The 23-year-old from Birmingham also made the better start into today’s encounter breaking Kohlschreiber’s serve in the third game to eventually take the set in tenth. The man from Augsburg, fought his way back into this match, breaking serve in the fourth and eighth game to take the encounter into a decider. Here again, the Brit was wide awake right from the beginning when he capitalized on his first break point opportunity in the final set. Evans didn’t become flustered, defended his advantage until the end of the match and served out in the tenth game winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 after two hours to reach his first ever semi-final on the ATP World Tour. “I enjoy every day here in Zagreb. I only found out the day when main draw started that I will have to play on Tuesday,” the lucky loser said. “So I had the chance to play a lot of matches this week, which is always good and it is a big achievement for me to reach the semis here,” Evans said. “For me Davis Cup is still one of my favourite things to do and so this is a big goal for me to play for my country. That I wasn’t selected for the tie on clay last weekend is a difficult decision but there are some players in Britain, who ran the same level and eventually the captain has to decide. It’s normal in sports that from time to time someone has to be left out,” the Englishman explained. In the end this decision might have become a lucky one for Evans as otherwise he may not to be here in Zagreb.

 

In the final match of the day top-seed Tommy Haas met Andrey Kuznetsov for the very first time. The 35-year-old German made his Zagreb debut yesterday winning in three sets against countryman Benjamin Becker. The Russian battled his way through the qualification, defeated 2008 champion Sergiy Stakhovsky and Heilbronn finalist Igor Sijsling to appear in his third ATP World Tour quarterfinal. The the first set in was even affair without any break points. Haas eventually took the set in the tie-break 8-6. The German veteran improved his play with the start of the final frame. Haas capitalized on the first break point of the match in the opening game of   the final set after 47 minutes. The top-seed served out by an ace winning 7-6, 6-4 in 85 minutes. “We both served well, the tie-break was hard fought and I think it was important for the momentum to win it,” the top-seed said afterwards. “It is always dangerous to play qualifiers at a tournament, who have already played a couple of matches before. Daniel beat with Philipp a top-player today and I have to focus on my game tomorrow but I expect another tough match,” Haas stated about his semi-finals task.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

Share

Doubles Team of Kohlschreiber and Haas send Germany to the Davis Cup Quarterfinals

Germany wins-001

By Florian Heer

(February 1, 2014) FRANFURT, GERMANY – Saturday in Frankfurt and in the morning it must have looked like climbing Mount Everest for the Spanish team to come back into this tie. In this competition the Iberians have never been able to recover from being 0-2 down after the first day and so Carlos Moya’s squad was forced to win the doubles rubber when David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco took on Philipp Kohlschreiber, who replaced Daniel Brands, and Tommy Haas.

It was the first time that the Spanish ATP World Tour Final Champions played as a team at Davis Cup. For the Germans it was also a new doubles team situation as doubles partners. For Kohlschreiber and Haas the longer the match took, the better both players found their rhythm as a team. In the first set, however, the Germans had a quite difficult start. Haas had to save set points in his service game to put the first set into a tie-break. Two magnificent shots from Marrero saved set points for the Spaniards but two double faults handed the Germans the opening set.

There were no break points in the second set and so again the tie breaker had to decide. Spain has already lost four tie-breaks during this weekend but were finally freed from a curse by winning this one 11-9 after one hour and 52 minutes.

Verdasco took more and more command on Spanish side, hitting baseline shots as hard as he could and eventually played another unavoidable tie-break in the third set almost alone. Before, the Spaniards were not able to capitalize on break points in the third game and consequently lost another close breaker 7-9.

So it became more and more difficult for the Spanish team to get back into this tie. The atmosphere at the Fraport Arena, filled with 5.000 spectators, was great for the home team, were the lucky ones to finally gain the first break of the match in the fourth game of the fourth set after three hours and eight minutes of play. It should become the decisive one.

Twenty-six minutes later, Haas served the match out in the ninth game giving Germany the victory by winning 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3. “The team presented themselves how it should be at a home game,” Carsten Arriens said.

Kohlschreiber & Haas-001

“It was hard work today but in the end it worked out for Tommy and Philipp today. I also had a lot of fun during the last two days on the bench,” the German team captain added. “It was great to be back playing Davis Cup,” Haas stated.

 “Carsten’s vision of having a doubles team with Kohlschreiber and Haas became reality today. It was a difficult match against two experienced players but I think that we harmonized quite well on the court today,” the German veteran said. “It also have to be mentioned that Tommy and I do not have a problem with each other,”

Kohlschreiber explained his relation to Haas. “I think sometimes it’s just the media, which needs something to write about,” Kohlschreiber said. “My match on Friday wasn’t that long, so I felt good to play the doubles today as well,” he added. The German team already celebrated their victory during the press conference by drinking champagne and announced that this will become a long night for them.

 

On the other hand, the Spanish team was disappointed. “It was very close today. There was only one break of serve in the entire match,” Moya said. “Similar to Feliciano yesterday, we had our chances but in the end we couldn’t capitalize on it. Nonetheless my team can be proud of themselves how they played today and hopefully next time the luck will be on our side,” the Spanish team captain added.

 

Germany will face an away tie against France in the quarterfinals and Spain has to play a second time in a row the Davis Cup World Group play-offs.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

Share

Haas Stops Haase for Vienna Title

Haas Winner-001

By Florian Heer

 

(October 20, 2013) VIENNA, Austria – Sunday’s final at the Erste Bank Open featured the first meeting between unseeded Robin Haase and the tournament’s number two Tommy Haas. It was the third time since 1974 that a German and a Dutchman reached the final in Vienna. In 1991 Jan Siemerink, who is the only other player from the Netherlands to reach the final here, lost to Michael Stich and five years later to Boris Becker.

 

Haase upset third-seeded Fabio Fognini on Friday and toppled top favorite and 2011 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semis. Haas has appeared in the final here for the third time after victories over Miloslav Mecir, Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol in Saturday’s semis.

 

Haas had a nervous start in the final, hit a lot of unforced errors and consequently lost his service in the third game. The 35-year-old German showed first signs of frustration at an early stage of the match. This, however, seemed to help him, as he was able to gain the break back. Moreover, Haas broke serve in the sixth game to close the set out in the ninth after 35 minutes. It seemed that the second-seed had finally found his rhythm. Haas also began to win the longer rallies and broke the Dutchman’s service in the first game of the second set. Just when everyone thought, the encounter could only see one winner, Haase fought back. He took the German’s service in the second as well as in the tenth game and therewith he won the second set.

 

Haase drew first blood in the final set by breaking serve in the sixth game but wasn’t able to confirm it. The German veteran showed all of his experience and was able to gain the decisive break in the ninth game and finally served the match out in the following beating the Dutch 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and six minutes. After winning in 2001, Haas took his second title in Vienna, the fifteenth in his career. “Important this week was to win the big points, that’s what counts in the end,” Haas said afterwards. “It’s a nice feeling to win close matches like that today. I also enjoy playing in Vienna. There aren’t that many indoor events, which I chose to play during the year and so this title is something special for me,” the German added.

 

Haas hangs in the Emirates ATP World Tour Race to London adding 250 points from the Austrian capital. “Of course it would be nice to participate at the O2 but I know that I have to play really well for that during the next tournaments in Valencia and Paris,” the German said.

 

In the doubles final the unseeded pair of Florian Mergea and Lukas Rosol took their first team title on the ATP World Tour beating the third-seeded combination of Julian Knowle and Daniel Nestor 7-5, 6-4 in 70 minutes.

 

On Sunday morning the tournament director of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, Herwig Straka, looked back on a successful week. “The event didn’t start well when Jürgen Melzer was forced to withdraw due to an injury,” Straka said. “However, thanks to Dominic Thiem we made a great turnaround. About 47, 000 spectators attended the event this week, which represents an increase of 10% compared to last year. This is a positive signal for the future,” he added. “I think that we had a good mixture in the draw with players like Hewitt, Tsonga, Haas and the Austrians. The investment paid off,” Straka was satisfied. “We have the vision to become part of the ATP 500-series. With the help from our tournament’s ambassador, Thomas Muster, we stay in touch with players like Federer or Murray and hope to welcome one of the top-players in the future here in Vienna,” the tournament director told about the plans for the future. “We also consider changing the surface in the next year to Greenset, on which is played in Basel, Valencia and Paris,” Straka concluded.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit. He’s was Vienna covering the ATP 250 event, the Erste Bank Open as media. His special interest is in Spanish tennis and you can follow his twitter account @armadadetenis.

 

Share

Friday in Vienna

Centre Court-001

By Florian Heer

 

(October 18, 2013) VIENNA, Austria – It is the 39th edition of an ATP World Tour event in Vienna this year and tennis has a big tradition in the capital of Austria. The event takes place in the Stadthalle of Vienna, with a capacity of more than 8.000 seats, one of the biggest sports arenas in Europe. The stadium also celebrates its 55th anniversary this year and with Lleyton Hewitt the twentieth “World No. 1player” took part here this week.

 

Quarterfinals Friday at the Erste Bank Open began on Centre Court with the first meeting on the ATP World Tour between eighth-seeded Czech Lukas Rosol and Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans. They met once before on the ITF Futures Tour in Germany four years ago when the Czech won in three sets. By reaching the quarterfinals both players have already achieved their best result in Vienna. Both served ten aces throughout the match in which Rosol had the better ending winning the encounter 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 in eighty minutes.

 

Next on court was the second meeting between Fabio Fognini and Robin Haase. The Italian has had a great season so far, already recorded his 40th match win this season on Thursday and took two titles on the ATP World Tour winning in Stuttgart and Hamburg. However, it is the Dutchman who won the only previous meeting in straight sets at the ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo last year. Haase also seems to be a force on Austrian soil winning both of his only two ATP career titles in the mountains in Kitzbühel. The first set was dominated by the service games with no break points until the eleventh game in which Haase gained his first chance to break serve. The third-seeded Italian however saved it, held his service game and consequently the tie-break had to decide. Fognini eventually took an even decider winning the first set after forty minutes. In the following frame, things changed quickly and it was the Dutch, who capitalized on his first break point to gain an early 2-0 lead and finally took the set in only twenty minutes by 6-1. The match went the distance and it was Haase again, who gained the early advantage breaking Fognini’s service in the third game. Through a double fault by the Italian in the seventh game, Haase gained a second break winning the encounter 7-6, 1-6, 6-1 after 84 minutes. “The key to success today seemed to be the fact that I was totally focused on my game and I didn’t distract myself from the often unconventional style Fognini was playing in the final set,” the Dutchman explained after the match and advanced into his fourth semi-final of the season.

Haas-001

In the third quarterfinal of the day Radek Stepanek took on Tommy Haas. It was the seventh meeting of the two veterans, where the series was tied 3-3 before the encounter. On Thursday the 35-year-old German defeated qualifier Miloslav Mecir in straight sets to reach the stage of the last eight for the third consecutive year. In today’s match, Haas broke the attacking Czech’s service in the twelfth game through a nice passing shot but couldn’t serve out in the following. In the tie-break with a couple of hawk-eye-decisions and great rallies, Haas had the better ending winning 12-10 after 63 minutes. The second-seeded German gained the decisive break in the fifth game of the second set and served the match out in the ninth game winning 7-6, 6-3 in one hour and 44 minutes to face Lukas Rosol in the semis. “Lukas is an attacking opponent, playing very aggressively with a huge serve,” Haas said about his next task. “If he (Rosol) feels good, he will be a very dangerous player – and it seems to be that he does as he reached the semis here – so I expect a hard match tomorrow,” the German stated. Haas also mentioned that he is not worried about the future in men’s tennis as he thinks that the game of many of the youngsters like Dimitrov, Tomic or even Thiem is very attractive to watch.

 

It was the local wild card Dominic Thiem, who was last on Centre Court facing top-seed and 2011 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Of course this was the match most people in Vienna were waiting for. The 20-year-old has reached his second career quarterfinal on the ATP World Tour after being one of the last eight in Kitzbühel earlier this year. In September Thiem reached his first ATP Challenger final in Como, three weeks later he took his first title in Kenitra and today he faced the world number eight in front of about 7.700 spectators on Centre Court. It was an even affair until the ninth game of the first set when the French broke Thiem’s service and took the frame in the following. The atmosphere was great as the Austrian crowd backed their player as much as they could but Tsonga seemed to remain on the winning track. Although the world number 149 had a couple of break point chances throughout the match, so far in the decisive moments, Tsonga’s service has worked perfectly; until the eighth game of the second set when the Austrian was able to capitalize on his eighth break point. Thiem stayed cool and served out in the following to equal sets after 78 minutes. The Austrian youngster also kept calm in the tenth game of the final set when he had to save match point and he took the encounter to the distance. Tsonga needed all of his experience and some unforced errors by Thiem in the tie-break to finally seal victory after two hours and fourteen minutes winning 6-4, 3-6, 7-6. Therewith the French extended his match record in Vienna to 6-0 and remains unbeaten. “Dominic played well today. He didn’t have anything to lose, so it’s always difficult to face a player like him,” Tsonga commented the Austrian’s performance. “My baseline game was really poor today but I served well. I’m still a top-ten player, I played many matches like this and that’s what I think made the difference in the end,” the French reflected on his own game.

 

Thiem on the other hand was understandably disappointed. “It was a match on highest level and it was also very exhausting. Nonetheless I really enjoyed playing here today in front of the almost fully packed arena. It was like Davis Cup atmosphere. Unfortunately in the end it didn’t work out for me but he served big and I will take today’s positive things into my next matches,” the Austrian said after the match.

 

The day ended well for Dominic Thiem when he advanced into the doubles semifinals together with his partner Maximilian Neuchrist, beating fourth-seeded team of Jamie Murray and John Peers 6-3, 6-4.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit. He’s in Vienna covering the Erste Bank Open as media. His special interest is in Spanish tennis and you can follow his twitter account @armadadetenis.

 

 
RESULTS – FRIDAY, 18 OCTOBER, 2013

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] J Tsonga (FRA) d [WC] D Thiem (AUT) 64 36 76(3)
[2] T Haas (GER) d [5] R Stepanek (CZE) 76(10) 63
R Haase (NED) d [3] F Fognini (ITA) 67(4) 61 61
[8] L Rosol (CZE) d [Q] R Bemelmans (BEL) 63 16 63

Doubles – Quarter-finals
F Mergea (ROU) / L Rosol (CZE) d [1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) 75 36 10-8
[WC] M Neuchrist (AUT) / D Thiem (AUT) d [4] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) 63 64

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 19 OCTOBER, 2013

CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
[8] L Rosol (CZE) vs [2] T Haas (GER)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[1] J Tsonga (FRA) vs R Haase (NED)
F Mergea (ROU) / L Rosol (CZE) vs [WC] M Neuchrist (AUT) / D Thiem (AUT)
[3] J Knowle (AUT) / D Nestor (CAN) vs [PR] J Levinsky (CZE) / M Pavic (CRO)

Share

Djokovic and Nadal Cruise into Semifinal

Novak Djokovic practice China Open practice

Novak Djokovic

By Ros Satar

(June 5, 2013) PARIS – After the ups and down in the two women’s quarterfinals, not to mention the excitement after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s dispatch of Roger Federer, there were high hopes that the remaining two men’s quarterfinals would match them.

 

For Novak Djokovic, the progression was rapid, as he put paid to the last of the 8 men in last 16 to use a single-handed backhand.

 

The first set lasted only half an hour, with two breaks in quick succession to take the first set 6-3 over Tommy Haas.

 

Haas put up more of a battle in the second set, despite getting hardly points off the Djokovic serve, and had actually built up a 4-2 lead in the tiebreak, before finally losing the second set 76(5).

 

Nerves finally seemed to get to the Serbian, who failed to convert a match point on Haas’ serve, and then getting broken himself as he was serving for the match at 5-4.

 

Haas brought things back on terms at 5-5, but was broken for Djokovic to take another spin at serving out for the match,

 

This time he took no chances, closing out his place in the semi-final in a time just short of two-and-a-quarter hours.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

He will face, defending champion Rafael Nadal who crushed Stanislas Wawrinka in a little under two hours, for the loss of just six games – 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

 

Wawrinka found himself broken right at the start of the match, much like one of his racquets, with his obvious frustration showing.

 

In the second set, Nadal took an early lead, but this time Wawrinka was able to find a chink in his armor, breaking to get things back on serve.

 

Nadal’s response was to win the next three games and with it a two-set lead.

 

Wawrinka was all but done, as Nadal quickly built up a 5-0 lead, relenting enough to let the Swiss get one game on the board, before holding to love to sweep into the semi-final clash with Novak Djokovic.

 

Prior to the event, Djokovic was reluctant to discuss the draw, and dismissed questions about it ahead of the semifinal.

 

He said: “It’s not the first time I’m playing him.  We played over 30 times.

I’m sure that we know each other’s game really well.”

 

He continued: “As I said, we are in good form. This is the biggest matchup of our Roland Garros 2013 campaign for both me and him.”

 

Nadal has played himself into better form over the last three matches.

 

He said: “I’m happy the way that I played today especially.  [It] was my best match on the tournament without any doubt.

 

“Now I am in semifinals, three matches in a row without losing a set.  Last two matches I only lost one serve.”

 

Looking ahead to the semifinal, he echoed some of the guarded statements of Djokovic.

 

He said: “For me, it’s the semifinals, and doesn’t matter if it’s against Novak or against another player, because the player who not [going to] win the semifinals is not the champion of Roland Garros.

 

“He’s just the semifinalist.  That’s the big difference.”

 

Share

Nadal Cruises into French Open Quarters; Wawrinka Battles Back

Rafael Nadal 2

(June 3, 2013) Rafael Nadal flew into the French Open quarterfinals with an easy straight set win on his birthday while Stanislas Wawrinka had to fight back from a two-set deficit on Monday to win in Paris.

Celebrating his 27th birthday, the Spaniard routined No. 13 Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.

“I played much better today than the first three matches. No doubt about that,” Nadal said. “I started to have feelings with my forehand when I had a chance to hit my forehand.  I started to change directions well.  I started to feel that I can hit the ball longer and having more confidence in every stroke.”

Nishikori started out well but could not really compete with the seven-time Roland Garros champion. “One bad game for me,” Nishikori said, “and he start(ed) playing well.”

“The second set, I think I was a little bit, you know, too passive or like defensive.  He was hitting more forehand.  I was running side to side more than first set.  You know, he was playing more inside of the court.”

After the victory, Nadal was presented with a birthday cake and gifts as he was serenaded by the crowd with the tune of “Happy Birthday” in French.

“I just can say thank you very much all the crowd for making me feel this special moment very nice,” said Nadal.  “And thank you very much to Roland Garros for give me the presents on court.  It was very nice from Roland Garros, the organization.

“So just can say thank you very much to give me the chance to enjoy the moment with all the crowd here in Philippe Chatrier in probable the most emotional court for me on tour.”

Switzerland’s Wawrinka’s match was no cakewalk. He had to battle back from a two-sets to one deficit against a Frenchman in France.

Wawrinka advanced to the quarterfinals of Paris for the first time  by defeating Richard Gasquet  6-7 (5), 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 8-6.

No. 7 seed Gasquet was well on his way to a straight set victory when tempers flared in the third set. Wawrinka complained to the Chair Umpire that a line judge needed to be changed.

The No. 2 Swiss tennis player turned the match around. Gasquet grew tired and had some leg pain.

“I was really tired during the fifth set,” Gasquet said.

“I had no choice.  The crowd was incredible.  They supported me, and they did what they had to do.  But I’m disappointed to have lost.  That’s all I can do.  I can’t give more than I gave today.

“I had some break points, that’s true.  You have to find the right dosage between being an attacker or playing from the baseline.  He played such incredible shots.  I remember this passing shot during the fifth set.  It was incredible.”

For his efforts, Wawrinka will play Nadal for a place in the semifinals.

Tommy Haas become the first German in 17 years, and the oldest man since 1971, to reach the quarterfinals in Paris when he demolished Mikhail Youzhny 6‑1, 6‑1, 6‑3

“These are cool stats sometimes to hear and to know about,” said Haas.  “You know, makes you proud in the end of the day.

“But, yeah, what I’m really proud is that I reached, you know, the quarters here for the first time, you know, not knowing if that was ever going to be possible.

“And to have done that and, you know, to have a chance to play a quarterfinal match here, it’s a great success for me.”

Haas will take on top seed Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

Share

Haas Beats Isner on Lucky 13th Match Point at French Open

Tommy Haas photo by Maria Noble

Tommy Haas photo by Maria Noble

( June 1, 2013) No. 12 seed Tommy Haas resisted a comeback from  19th seed John Isner to squeak past the American on match point number 13, 7-5, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-7 (10), 10-8 in four hours and 37 minutes. Haas recovered from going down a break in the fifth set to earn the victory.

Isner served for the match at 5-4 in the fifth set. Isner mishit a backhand in a rally and Haas came back to break serve.

At 35, the German Haas is the first man of that age to reach the Roland Garros fourth round since Jonas Bjorkman in 2007.

Despite his age, Haas seemed to be the much fresher of the two combatants, with Isner having played a five-set match on Friday where he came back to win from being down two sets to none.

Isner is no stranger to five-set matches. In addition to having been victorious in the longest match in tennis history back in 2010 when he beat Nicholas Mahut at Wimbledon in 11 hours and five minutes over three days, a year ago at Roland Garros Isner lost 18-16 in fifth set inthe second round to Paul-Henri Mathieu – that match lasted  5 hours, 41 minutes.

Isner is now 5-12 in five set matches. With the loss, no American men are left in the singles draw.

Haas is to face No. 29 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Update to follow..

Share

Haas Beats Countryman Kohlschreiber for Munich Title

Tommy Haas

(May 5, 2013) German tennis veteran Tommy Haas won his first Munich Open in his tenth attempt, ousting defending champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6 (3).  The match was first all-German final in Munich in 48 years.

“It’s a sensational feeling to be quite honest,” Haas said of the win. “It was another one of those milestones that I hoped for, to maybe win this title one year. To have done that, this late in my career, is a big highlight for me. Every time you win a title, it’s a reflection of putting everything together the whole week. It doesn’t happen that often. You’re really proud of those moments.

“It’s the icing on the cake when you have family here that you don’t see too often. Having my fiancé, my daughter and my mother-in-law coming all the way here to support me, couldn’t have been much better.

“I knew it was going to be tough. He’s played well here before and was looking for his third crown and it was maybe my last opportunity to win the title here. So I gave myself a little bit of extra pressure. I served well and I played well when it counted. When I was serving for the match, he played aggressive, came up with some good shots, and was rewarded for it. Then I told myself to get into the tie-break and play it as well as you can. I didn’t want to play a third set against him, having served for the match, so I was really pleased with that.”

Despite not defending his title, Kohlschreiber said it was a good week.  “It’s very frustrating to lose in the final, of course, but Tommy played a very good match. It was a great week; it’s always special to play at home. I’m happy with my performance. I really look forward to the upcoming clay-court tournaments. I’m pretty confident playing on clay and hopefully I’ll have a good run.”

Haas is the first 35-year-old to win an ATP World Tour event, since Frenchman Fabrice Santoro won Newport in 2008. It’s his 14th career title, 4th on German soil.

Haas will see his ranking rise to No. 13 when the new rankings are released on Monday.

Share