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When you are a 34-year old international sportsperson, chances are something or the other in the body hurts. After all there is just so much physical exertion that the human body is built to take. If your name is Tommy Haas, the reality is that your best years are far behind you, and after missing 14 months on tour everyday you spend on a tennis court is worth cherishing. Then come moments like today which make all the pain worthwhile. The former world no.2 rolled back the clock and achieved something he last did 10 years ago, beating legendary Swiss Roger Federer.
The occasion was the final of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, an event Federer had won 5 times previously, and one which Haas had himself won in 2009, beating Novak Djokovic in the final. Federer's luck at Halle appears to have deserted, having lost in the final to Llewitt Hewitt in 2010 after having won on each of his previous visits to the final. It had proved to be a bad omen for Federer, who made a rare exit in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon that year, and the Super Swiss will be hoping that history does not repeat itself.
The match itself was a tight affair with Federer breaking the Haas serve in the third game and consolidating that advantage to take a 3-1 lead. Haas though broke back in Federer's next service game to bring the set back on serve at 3-3. There were no further breaks of serve in the opening set, and it dutifully made its way into a tiebreak. The breaker proved to be just as close with Haas nicking it 7-5 to go a set ahead.
The second set promised to be just as close with Haas saving a couple of break points early before the set settled into a holding pattern. That changed in the 9th game when Haas latched on to his first break point in the set to pull ahead 5-4, before serving out the match in the next game to pick up a rather unexpected victory.
It was not just Haas' first win against Federer in 10 years, but also his first in his last 10 attempts. Haas will hope that the points gained from this win will guarantee him a starting berth at Wimbledon, having had to come through the qualifying rounds at Roland Garros last month, where he made the third round.
Federer meanwhile will not be too perturbed with the defeat, and will be happy to have got a solid workout before heading to Wimbledon.
File Photograph Copyright: Gerry Weber Open 2009 (PMK)
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