There’s a 30-something revolution in men’s tennis weekend. Roger Federer, 30, will clash with 34-year-old Tommy Haas for the Halle title while 30-year-old David Nalbandian will try to rekindle his old form against Marin Cilic for the Queen’s Club crown in London.
First in Germany where Federer should get a sixth Halle title against the surprising Haas. The German Haas has remarkably endured almost every injury a player can have and yet here he is still out on the battlefield at 34. You have to admire Haas for his effort and perseverance.
“To be in another final on German soil is fantastic for me,” said Haas. “It’s something I really hoped for to happen one more time. I’m going for my 13th title tomorrow, which is one huge goal that I still have, against possibly the greatest player of all time. It’s an honour in many ways, but at the same time, once the ball is in play, I really don’t care who’s on the other side. You just try to win those big points and try to win the match.”
Haas last tasted a title in Halle three years ago when he beat Novak Djokovic. And he’s back in the Top 100 after reaching the third round at the French (as a qualifier) last month.
Federer, though, has beaten Tommy in 10 of 12 meetings and the way the Swiss is playing he’s the clear favorite in this rare championship battle between one-handed backhands of fathers on Father’s day!
“Tommy and I share many years together on the tour and also our families are close,” said Federer after whipping Mikhail Youzhny for a 13th time today. “I’m happy for him that he made it so far and beat such top players. I hoped that he’d find his way into the tournament and would have a good run. He’s very dangerous on grass. So, it won’t be an easy final for me.”
Federer seeks his 75th career ATP title and fifth of the season.
Not too far off in rainy Queen’s, Nalbandian is lurking. The Argentine won six sets of tennis Friday then physically recovered in time to thwart Grigor Dimitrov’s run today 6-4, 6-4.
Nalbandian reached the Wimbledon final in 2002 losing to Lleyton Hewitt. Ten years later he’s back in another grass final tomorrow against Marin Cilic, a three set winner over Sam Querrey.
“[The] wind was terrible today,” said Nalbandian. “I don’t think we played a very nice match, but we tried our best. [It] was very difficult but happy to win. I’m very happy. I’ve played this tournament a few times, and I never reached the final. So happy to be tomorrow on court, and I hope to be ready and I hope the conditions are better, as well.”
Nalbandian hasn’t won a title in since Washington in 2010, but he’s beaten Cilic on four of five occasions. We know there will be a 30+ winner in Halle, can David join in? I think he does.
“You have to be really smart in the game, know how to put the ball away from him and put him in tough positions that he can’t really control it,” said Cilic.
As for all the upsets this week – Rafael Nadal, JW Tsonga, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych – it’s hard to read much into them. Roddick, who’s taken a wildcard into Eastbourne where he’ll play Querrey, is clearly reeling. Murray and Berdych should rebound at Wimbledon where the best-of-five format and some easy early rounders will help their games. And hopefully Tsonga will be 100% after severely spraining his finger on his right hand.
Again, with the Olympics this summer it makes scheduling that much more tricky and results at the smaller events that much more unpredictable. The most important thing is staying injury free, and apart from Tsonga’s new niggle the players seem to be “in good nick”.
Unfortunately, in keeping with the “turn back the clock” theme live men’s tennis doesn’t look like a possibility Sunday. Like the days when tennis finals were shown on delay, Tennis Channel has scheduled tape of Queen’s at 4pm ET, then tape of Halle at 8pm ET.
HALLE SUNDAY SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
Not Before 1:00 PM
[WC] T Haas (GER) vs  R Federer (SUI)
QUEEN’S SUNDAY SCHEDULE
CENTRE start 2:00 pm
 D Nalbandian (ARG) vs  M Cilic (CRO)
 M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN) vs  B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA)
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