Federer recovers to take thriller
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:32
It looked like Federer was about to follow reigning champion Rafael Nadal on his way out at Roland Garros when he faced a break point at 3-4 down in a third set against the world number 63.
But the Swiss – runner-up for the last three years – held his nerve to bounce back, clinch a 6-7 (4/7) 5-7 6-4 6-0 6-2 win and keep alive his dreams of a first French Open title. The 27-year-old plays Gael Monfils or Andy Roddick next.
It is the fifth time he has recovered from a two-set deficit – he did so against the Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych in this year’s Australian Open too. And it is the sixth time 31-year-old Haas has squandered that lead.
The world number two did not drop a point in his first six service games although Haas was also comfortable, needing to save just one break point which came in game six.
Federer conceded two mini-breaks in the tie-break to fall 3-1 then 5-2 behind. Haas was pulled back to 5-4 but he held both his next serves, taking the set when Federer sent a return into the net.
The majority of the crowd were rooting for the Swiss and they were delighted to see him break in the third game of the second set – but Haas broke back in the eighth game and did so again in the 12th game to open up a two-set lead.
In the third set, Federer had to save a break point in the eighth game with a cross-court forehand but in the following game, he broke when Haas volleyed long after a long, tense rally. Federer comfortably held serve to take the set.
Haas had been five points away from a famous win but he would not get that close again.
Federer took just 21 minutes to race through the fourth set without making an unforced error, and he also dominated the fifth to close out a match which lasted three hours and seven minutes.