TENNIS Haas beats Fish, Rybarikova wins final
German reaches first final in Washington at seventh attempt
Washington: German veteran Tommy Haas reached his first final in Washington at the ATP/WTA hardcourt event on Saturday on his seventh attempt with a 6-3, 7-5 defeat of top seed Mardy Fish.
“To finally reach the final on my seventh time here is crazy,” said Haas, who did not commit an unforced error and lost only two points in serve in the first set.
“Who would have thought to have done that at my age. It means a lot to me, to be in this final is a great feeling.”
The 34-year-old Haas will be aiming for his 14th career ATP Tour title on Sunday.
Haas is currently ranked 36th in the world after starting the season at 205th due to a string of injuries including hip and elbow surgeries in recent years.
Fourth seeded Haas, who was ranked as high as second on the ATP in 2002, will face second seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, who beat eighth seed Sam Querrey, 6-4, 6-4 in 74 minutes. Dolgopolov had eight aces and a break of serve per set.
Dolgopolov will try to win his second ATP title after ending Querrey’s seven match win streak.
In the women’s final, Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia upset top seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-1 to win the third title of her career.
Pavlyuchenkova won her semi-final just 24 hours earlier despite suffering from a heat-related illness.
Haas will be playing his third final in his last five events. He dominated in the opening set but got some stiff resistance from Fish in the second. The American forced Haas to save a pair of break points in the second game of the set before the pair settled back into their battle on serve.
The German struck after saving a set point in the tenth game as he won a 19-point exchange to hold serve.
Haas then took advantage with a break a game later in which Fish saved two break points with aces but double-faulted into a third, which Haas converted for 6-5.
Haas served it out a game later to end in 93 minutes with 21 winners and just seven unforced errors.
“That doesn’t happen very often - especially with my game,” said the 16-year ATP veteran who is into his 24th final.
“I knew I had to come out aggressive,” said Haas. “Mardy is a tough player who is playing some of his best tennis now. He’s one of the best on the hardcourt and he’s been playing unbelievable this week.
Fish was ten months removed from his last semi-final in Tokyo last October. He did not compete for the USA in the Olympics after going through an accelerated heartbeat scare in the spring.