Roger Federer Loses To Tommy Haas In Return To Tennis At Stuttgart Open
Roger Federer had a rough return from his two-month tennis hiatus on Wednesday, as he fell to Tommy Haas in three sets in the second round of the Stuttgart Open in Germany.
Tommy Haas Beats Roger Federer in Second Round of Stuttgart Open
Federer, the World number one, lost to the 39-year-old German — who is ranked 302nd in the World — 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 on grass. The 35-year-old Swiss chose to sit out all clay-court tournaments thus far in 2017 — including the French Open — in order to focus on grass and hard-court play.
Haas, who is playing his final season before retiring, saved nine of the 12 break points he faced and converted two of his three chances to hand Federer his second loss of the season.
After winning the first set, Federer lost to the German in the second-set tie-break after reaching match point.
Haas hadn’t reached a quarter-final since the 2014 Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, and the right-hander had gotten off to a 5-8 start this season.
“I’ve even shocked myself a bit,” said Haas, who was given a wild card for the Stuttgart Open. “I’m a bit speechless. It’s hard to find words.”
Haas added that playing against Federer was “one of his career highlights” and “a very special feeling.”
“At the same time he’s a very close friend of mine so it doesn’t feel like such a celebration in that sense,” said Haas. “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.”
The second-round match between the two players was the oldest singles contest on the ATP World Tour since 1982 Vina del Mar where Ricardo Cano, then 30, defeated Luis Ayala, then 49.
The German last beat Federer in the 2012 final in Halle (also in his home country). He underwent his ninth surgery in April 2016. Following Wednesday’s victory, Haas improved to 4-13 against the Swiss, who had not played since capturing the Miami Open in early April by defeating Rafael Nadal in the final.
“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,” Federer said. “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.”
The Swiss added that he was not surprised by his defeat to Haas because he knew the German would prove to be a tough opponent.
“I’m not so shocked to have lost. I knew I could lose against Tommy,” said Federer. “He was so good at the end and if I am happy for anybody, then it’s for Tommy.”
Federer, a seven-time Wimbledon champion, won the Australian Open in January to claim his 18th Grand Slam title, and also won the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. He had a first-round bye at Stuttgart.
The Swiss star’s only other defeat this year came on March 1 against Russian Evgeny Donskoy — who was ranked 116th at the time — in the round of 16 of the Dubai Tennis Championships. Federer is now 19-2 this season.
Federer next heads to Halle, Germany, where he will pursue his ninth title at the Gerry Weber Open.
Haas will attempt to become the oldest player to reach an ATP World Tour semi-final since 40-year-old Jimmy Connors did it in 1993 in San Francisco. Haas next plays fellow German Mischa Zverev, who saved ten of 11 break points to defeat another compatriot, qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in two sets in one hour and 23 minutes.
German and 2016 finalist Philipp Kohlschreiber also advanced, beating Steve Johnson of the U.S. 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-6(8) in two hours and 39 minutes.
KEY BISCAYNE, FL – MARCH 27: Roger Federer of Switzerland returns a shot against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina during Day 8 of the Miami Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 27, 2017 in Key Biscayne, Florida. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)