x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Haas eager to rest after epic victory

The German is through to the second week of Wimbledon after winning 10-8 in the final set against Marin Cilic.

LONDON // Two men's matches were halted tantalisingly poised on the brink of conclusion in Friday night darkness, Tommy Haas and Marin Cilic being locked together at 6-6 in a gripping final set and Igor Andreev and Andreas Seppi standing at 5-5 in the fourth. Haas, the dangerous German veteran who was once rated world No 2, and his Croatian rival Cilic had slugged it out for more than four hours, to the delight of a Court One crowd when fading light meant that they could slug no more.

When they returned yesterday afternoon, Haas - who had saved two match points in the gathering gloom - won what amounted to a sudden-death shoot-out. He did this by breaking for a 9-8 lead and just about holding his fragile temperament together to accept his third match point (he had squandered two in the fourth set). Haas, the 24th seed who held a two-set lead against Roger Federer before falling apart in the recent French Open, warmed up for Wimbledon by winning the Halle tournament in his native Germany, beating Novak Djokovic in the final.

His liking for grass makes him a big threat in the second week. He admitted to being nervous - and so did the 11th-seeded Cilic - knowing that his reappearance yesterday could have been over in a few wasteful moments. "There was so much adrenaline flowing from both of us last night that it was hard for us to come back and start again," said Haas. "It's a pity they don't have lights to get matches finished in situations like ours.

"The crowd want it and so do we. Maybe that's something they should think about. "We finished at 9.30pm and by the time I got home, had a massage and ate, my body was tired. "I could hardly get out bed. I will be ready to go on Monday. But I am just happy to get through." Haas, 31, seeking to make up for lost time after a shoulder operation in 2007, is glad that there is no play today on the rest day as he unwinds from 7-5, 7-5, 1-6, 6-7, 10-8 passage which took him 4hr 27min of playing time to complete.

He will now face Andreev tomorrow after the 29th-seeded Russian required only three more games (one of them a tie-break) on the resumption to complete a deserved 6-1, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 Court Two verdict over Seppi, the unseeded Italian who had defeated James Blake in the opening round. wjohnson@thenational.ae