In his first match in months, Roger Federer was shocked by good friend Tommy Haas 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 in his opening match at the Stuttgart grass event.
Federer had let by a set and a break, then held a match point in the second set tiebreaker. The Swiss held 7 breakpoints in the third but couldn’t convert, and the 39-year-old Haas converted his lone chance to collect his fourth career win over Federer.
“I thought it was a typical grass-court match today. Rallies weren’t very long and it was decided on a serve there or a return here. If you don’t take your chances like I didn’t, leading a set and a break, you really only have yourself to blame at the end. You’ve got to acknowledge the fact that he was a bit better. It’s quite frustrating, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Federer said.
“It wasn’t all bad, not at all. There were definitely some good moments, but I definitely was not as sharp as I was hoping to be in maybe the big moments, or the moment when I had the lead and where I feel I should have been cruising from that moment on. I definitely made some crucial mistakes and judgment errors.
“Tommy definitely played well when he had to. He hung around and was able to push me in the second set. In the third set I couldn’t get up to the level I wanted. I should have somehow broken him once, but I wasn’t able to do that.”
For Haas, it was extra special to get the win in front of his home fans.
“I’m a little bit speechless that I beat him today. It’s been awhile since I have won back-to-back matches and to do it today against Roger is obviously one of my career highlights. It’s a very special feeling,” Haas said.
“At the same time he’s a very close friend of mine so it doesn’t feel like such a celebration in that sense. This is my last phase, so the emotions are different from what they would have been a few years ago. This is sport. Unfortunately, one person has to lose and lately a lot of the time it has been me. I was happy to be out there in front of a German crowd playing against a friend, an idol, a legend, the greatest ever. It’s fantastic.”
Fellow German Philipp Kohlschreiber also advanced as did Luas Pouille and Mischa Zverev.
Tomas Berdych and Grigor Dimitrov are in action Thursday.
In Den Bosch, Mischa’s brother Alex who curiously didn’t play in Germany, was a winner over Adrian Mannarino 6-2, 6-3. The 20-year-old now meets Julien Benneteau.
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