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  • Haas kicks off Rome campaign against Youzhny

    5/13/13 8:36 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Haas kicks off Rome campaign against Youzhny Tommy Haas has a tough first-round matchup in Rome as he looks to continue his impressive 2013 campaign on Tuesday. Fellow veteran Mikhail Youzhny will be on the other side of the net.

    Tommy Haas and Mikhail Youzhny will be squaring off for the seventh time in their careers but for just the second time since 2008 when they do battle in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Tuesday.

    The head-to-head series is tied up at three wins apiece. Only their first-even encounter way back in 2002 came on clay, and it ended in a second-set Haas retirement. They most recently faced each other last fall in Beijing, where Youzhny prevailed 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

    Haas, however, has a clear edge in form this season. The 35-year-old German boasts a 20-8 record for his 2013 campaign, which includes a recent Munich title, a runner-up finish in San Jose, and a semifinal run in Miami--where he upset Novak Djokovic. Haas, ranked 14th in the world, won two matches last week in Madrid before falling to David Ferrer in a tough, high-quality three-setter.

    Youzhny is an extremely disappointing 9-11 for the year, but he may have gained some confidence in Madrid. The 30th-ranked Russian won a pair of three-setters over Fabio Fognini and Nicolas Almagro before succumbing to eventual champion Rafael Nadal. Youzhny had been just 1-3 on clay this season prior to last week's Masters event.

    Although the 30-year-old showed signs of life in Madrid, that may be an aberration instead of the rule. Haas, on the other hand, is playing remarkably consistent tennis at this point in his career. Look for Haas to get the job done after two entertaining sets.

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