Haas: Unfortunately one had to lose
Originally published on: 02/06/13 00:00
Having let slip 12 match points in the fourth set, the 35-year-old German recovered from 4-1 down in the decider to clinch the match 7-5 7-6(4) 4-6 6-7(10) 10-8 in four hours and 37 minutes.
"It's obviously a great match to be a part of, especially at such a big event against somebody that is very used to those kinds of matches," said Haas, who also saved a match point late in the fifth set. "Unfortunately one has to lose, and I think it would have been more upsetting for me in this case, after having many chances in the fourth set there.
"It's definitely going to be one of the best matches to look back on, for sure."
Haas became the first player over the age of 35 to reach the third round at Roland Garros since Jonas Bjorkman in 2007 but it was his younger American opponent, who had overcome Ryan Harrison in five sets in his previous match, that showed the first signs of physical deterioration when he started to feel cramp in his legs.
"I thought it's not looking good [down 1-4 in the fifth set]," Haas explained. "I was still looking at the opportunities I had. You have to tip your hat at some point, the way he was saving those match points, serving the way he did. There was really nothing I could have done or I don't think many people could do in that certain time.
"I knew he had a long match yesterday, and he was starting to maybe not get up from his legs so much anymore in his serve. I felt maybe if I have another chance to break him, who knows what can happen. Luckily it came at 4-2 with some good shots. And then everything was open again."
Standing between Haas and his first Grand Slam quarter-final appearance since Wimbledon in 2009 is Russian Mikhail Youzhny, who upset Janko Tipsarevic in straight sets.