• Haas converts 13th match point, beats Isner 10-8 in fifth

    6/1/13 11:29 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Haas converts 13th match point, beats Isner 10-8 in fifth Tommy Haas squanders 12 match points then saves one against him before outlasting John Isner late in a fifth set on Saturday at Roland Garros. Haas needs more than four hours to book his place in the last 16.

    Aside from winning a Grand Slam, Tommy Haas has just about done it all in his career. That was until Saturday, when the 35-year-old needed 13 match points in order to advance.

    Haas missed 12 match-point opportunities in the fourth set before finally getting past John Isner 7-5, 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-7(10), 10-8 in the third round of the French Open. The German survived one of Isner's best-ever serving days to prevail in four hours and 37 minutes.

    After Isner won the third set to force a fourth, both players held without too much trouble en route to a 6-5 Haas advantage. The real drama began--and did not end for another hour and a half--with Isner serving to stay in the tournament. The 6'9'' American saved a whopping nine match points to force a tiebraker. He fought off three more in the 'breaker--including the only one on Haas' serve thanks to a double-fault--before taking it 12-10.

    The decider was an extended battle between Isner's physical issues and Haas' mental problems. Haas dropped serve right away to trail 2-0, a deficit that eventually became 3-0 and 4-1. Out of almost nowhere, though, the world No. 14 broke back at in the seventh game. Still, Haas had to save one match point at 4-5--which he did with a rally in which he hit one shot off the sideline before forcing his opponent into a backhand error.

    In the end, it was Haas who had just enough left in the tank. He broke a weary Isner at 8-8 and served out the proceedings with ease one game later, finally converting his 13th match point when Isner sent a forehand wide.

    "It was tough, but I could have easily lost in four sets," explained the No. 19 seed, who--one day after staging the first two-sets-down comeback of his career against Ryan Harrison--finished with 27 aces and zero double-faults while serving at an awesome 78 percent. "I still was up by 4-1 in the fifth set. So I had a chance to close it out. That was really my opportunity and I wasn't able to do it. But Tommy, he stayed the course, and he deserves the win."

    "It's obviously a great match to be a part of, especially at such a big event against somebody that is very used to those kinds of matches," Haas assured. "Unfortunately one has to lose, and I think it would have been more upsetting for me, in this case, after having many chances in the fourth set there.

    "But it's crazy. It was a big roller coaster with not many thoughts in between. He had match point at 4-5 and somehow I saved that one. It went back and forth. It's definitely going to be one of the best matches to look back on, for sure."

    That is saying a lot, too, given what the veteran can reflect on whenever--if ever?--he decides to call it quits. Haas is a four-time Grand Slam semifinalist, a three-time U.S. Open quarterfinalist, he won a silver medal in men's singles at the 2000 Olympics, and his career-high ranking is No. 2 in the world.

    The only major in which Haas has never reached a quarterfinal is Roland Garros. He can accomplish that feat on Monday against Mikhail Youzhny.

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legends, both

RickyDimon , 6/2/13 12:15 AM

My head had Haas winning, but my heart wanted Big John. against most players, tommy would have been my pick, but Big guy desperately needs some confidence shit and this was the match to do it. Tommy has more style, variety and endurance, but Issy, unfortunately, relies too heavily on his serve. I miss Roddick at the slams and the NA HC tournaments. I keep thinking that this wold have been the perfect time for him to return back to playing competitive tennis, and the retirement was just a test in many ways, .e.g., fans response, his personal battle with various injuries etc., but it appears that he is sticking to his decision and is on his way to making a different career path work for him. American tennis could desperately use him. Pls. come back Andy!!

scoretracker , 6/2/13 1:54 AM

Tommy is finally playing to his potential. His multi-dimensional game has given Novak trouble in the past. Novak needs to keep his good work going in the 2nd week. Kohli/haas are tricky match-ups for the best player on this planet.

Great work from Isner. Hope he can make deep runs at the faster slams - Wimbledon/USO

novakisthebest , 6/2/13 6:36 AM

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