LONDON: Tommy Haas showed he was still capable of springing a surprise at the age of 34 when he ended a three-year title drought with a shock 7-6 6-4 win over Roger Federer in the Halle Open final on Sunday.
The German, who needed a wildcard to play in the event as he is now ranked 87th, had declared himself ‘mystified’ with his unexpected passage to the final.
He was even more amazed on Sunday after beating a 30-year-old opponent who was the overwhelming favourite to win a sixth title at the Wimbledon warm-up event.
“This has been one of the best weeks of my career but I reckon I won’t really appreciate what’s happened until this evening,” Haas said after winning his 13th career trophy.
“If someone had said to me beforehand that I was going to beat Roger Federer, probably the best player of all time, I would have thought they were mad.”
Haas’s win also snapped a 10-year losing streak against Federer, with the Swiss having won their last nine meetings dating back to the 2002 Paris Masters.
Haas last captured a title at the same grasscourt venue in 2009. Just weeks later he enjoyed his most successful run at Wimbledon when he reached the semi-finals and will be hoping Sunday’s result will also be a launchpad for another run deep into the tournament.
Federer has already enjoyed a memorable week at the German town in North Rhine-Westphalia after the main pathway up to the tennis stadium was named after him.
The 16-times grand slam champion is unlikely to be too concerned about failing to clear the final hurdle here as he would have fine-tuned his game for Wimbledon during the four matches he has played here.
“I’m very impressed with how he played today. Tommy deserved to win,” said Federer, who had a been chasing his fifth title of the season and 75th overall.
“I should never have lost the first set, so that hurt. He got momentum after that.”