Haas advances to Delray Beach semifinals
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Second-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany beat Ivan Dodig of Croatia 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-1 on Friday to advance to the semifinals of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.
The 19th-ranked Haas, who will turn 35-years-old in March, is the oldest player ranked in the Top 50.
"I'm not so worried about my age really, to be honest,'' Haas said. "I worry about it when my birthday comes around and I recognize the fact I'm going to turn 35 and I'll celebrate it. ... When you're on the court competing against somebody that's 20, 25, 31, it doesn't matter. You're out there to compete and to try to win.''
Haas, who reached his 25th career final two weeks ago at San Jose, Calif., before losing to Canadian Milos Raonic, will next face 2010 Delray Beach champion Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.
Haas has won 13 career singles titles - his last at Halle, Germany, last year where he beat Roger Federer in the final - and reached a career high No. 2 ranking in 2002.
Haas, who won the Delray Beach title in 2006, had to contend with chilly, windy, drizzly weather as well as a tenacious quarterfinal opponent.
Haas initially led 4-0 in the first set, but the 62nd-ranked Dodig won the next five games to be serving for the set at 5-4. Dodig dropped his serve in that 10th game on a third break point when he hit an unforced backhand long. After Haas secured the first set tiebreaker, Dodig took control of the second set. From 1-1 in the set, he won five of the next six games to even the score at one set apiece.
Haas returned to control in the third set winning every game but when Dodig served in the third game.
"I think the momentum went back my way in the third set and this time I played a little bit smarter than in the first set,'' Haas said.
Gulbis advanced to Saturday's semifinals by beating fellow qualifier Daniel Munoz-De la Nava of Spain 6-1, 6-4.
"Everything was more of less good and there was nothing I didn't like about today's match,'' Gulbis said. "It got a little bit easy for me because my opponent today couldn't get used to the speed and pace of the ball.''
Gulbis reached the quarterfinal by upsetting third-seeded Sam Querrey of the U.S. 6-4, 4--6, 7-6 (4) after trailing 4-0 in the final set on Thursday.
Last year was the first time Gulbis finished a season ranked outside the Top 100 since 2006.
Gulbis raced to a 5-0 lead in the first set before Munoz-De La Nava held serve in the sixth game. Gulbis went ahead 2-0 in the second set and held on to the advantage to take the match in two sets.