Roger Federer loses 3-set battle to Tommy Haas in first match back - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer loses 3-set battle to Tommy Haas in first match back

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Tommy Haas, at 39 years old, has become only the second player to defeat Roger Federer in 2017, winning on the Stuttgart grass 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4. 

 

The only other player to beat the reigning Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami champion this year is world No. 95  Evgeny Donskoy, who won a three-setter in Dubai in March.

This was Federer’s first competitive match in over two months, as he skipped the entire clay-court season to prepare for the faster surfaces.

“He hasn’t played a match in 10 weeks. The first match is always the toughest, so maybe deep down I felt to myself there’s maybe a small chance if I can serve well, play well [and] hold my serve. You never know what can happen,” Haas said on-court after the match.

Federer plowed through the first set with relative ease.

In the opening game, Haas lost his serve at 15. Federer followed it up with a 15 hold on a forehand volley winner. Haas later got on the board with an ace to hold for 1-2.

Federer, up 3-2, faced a break point, but he saved it with a short forehand winner and won the game with two aces — one a slice and one up the T. Haas then got broken on a forehand error, and Federer consolidated to love with a forehand winner, taking the first set 6-2.

To start the second set, Haas held to 15 on an ace, making chalk fly up. Federer then held on a smash and broke with a backhand return winner down the line. But Haas took the break back immediately on a netted Federer forehand for 2-2.

Four holds later, at 4-4, Federer had a break point. Haas pulled out the game with an ace out wide, a slice backhand pass and a missed Federer backhand.

This meant Federer had to serve at 4-5 to stay in the set. The seven-time Wimbledon champion held to 30 on a short crosscourt forehand winner.

Haas held again for a 6-5 lead, putting Federer in another must-hold situation. Federer responded by swiftly holding to love to force a tiebreak.

Haas snagged the first mini-break on a missed Federer forehand for a 6-4 lead in the tiebreak. The German then lost his serve at 6-5, failing to convert either of his set points. 6-6. Federer later lost both his serve and the set on a double-fault for 8-10, sending the match to a decider.

Haas, down 1-2 in the third, fought off three break points to hold. Federer then lost his serve on a bad backhand, letting Haas go up a break.

Haas consolidated by saving four break points to go up 4-2. Federer then aced for 3-4. Haas held to make it 5-3. Federer aced for 4-5, and Haas had the opportunity to serve for the match.

Haas served the match out to 15, advancing to the quarterfinals of this 250 event, where he will face veteran serve-and-volleyer Mischa Zverev, who stunned world No. 1 Andy Murray in Melbourne earlier in the year.

Although Zverev is a veteran, he is a decade younger than Haas.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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