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.