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Tommy Haas stuns Federer in Stuttgart

dpa logodpa 14/06/2017

Tommy Haas has shocked his long-time friend Roger Federer, handing the Swiss star a loss in his season-opening match on grass.

Tommy Haas saved seven break points in the final set as the 39-year-old German stunned Roger Federer 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 to derail the Swiss star's return to the court.

The loss was only the second this year for Federer, who owns 2017 titles at the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami.

The 18-time grand slam winner last played on April 2, when he won Miami; he then skipped the entire clay season to prepare for the grass and Wimbledon.

Haas produced only his fourth win in 17 matches against his longtime friend, in a series which began in 2000.

"I'm mainly speechless of course," Haas said.

"Playing Roger is very special - especially on grass and also in Germany.

"It's tough to put into words how I feel. It's not easy to play a close friend. We both showed some nerves out there."

Federer started his grasscourt season by sweeping the opening set in 22 minutes but Haas fought back to win the second on a Federer double-fault, one of only two for the 35-year-old.

Haas, ranked 305, but playing on a protected ranking, gained confidence in the third set, saving break points for 2-2 and breaking a game later.

Federer worked in vain to catch up, but was unable to close the gap with his German rival.

The loss was the earliest for the seven-time Wimbledon winner in the decade and a half since he lost in the first round at the All England club as a teenager to Mario Ancic.

Haas, who saved a Federer match point, becomes the oldest quarter-finalist at an ATP event since Jimmy Connors 22 years ago.

"Roger could not close out the match in the second set, after that I was able to play more freely," he said

"I'm very happy with the result. A lot of factors came into play: Roger had not played a match in 10 weeks.

"Deep down I thought there might be a small chance for me if I played well and held my serve. You never know what can happen on grass.

"I tried to come out and play great tennis in front of my family and friends. I'm happy I was able to do it one more time in Stuttgart."

Federer brought an 11-match win streak into the match; Haas will be playing his first quarter-final since 2014.

The contest between the pair was the oldest ATP singles contest since 1982 in Vina del Mar, where Ricardo Cano (30) beat Luis Ayala (49).

Two more Germans advanced as Mischa Zverev - the next Haas opponent - and Philipp Kohlschreiber won.

Kohlschreiber fought back to surpass Steve Johnson 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 7-6 (8-6) while the sixth seeded Zverev beat qualifier Yannick Hanfmann 7-6 (7-1) 6-2.

French fourth seed Lucas Pouille upset the German theme of the day with a 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (10-8) win over Jan-Lennard Struff and will face Kolhschreiber in the quarters.

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