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Roger overcomes Haas in 5 sets

23.01.2006 | Tennis

Roger survived a five-set fright against rejuvenated Tommy Haas to keep his Australian Open assault alive at Melbourne Park last night, defeating the German 6-4 6-0 3-6 4-6 6-2.


Roger, who had not dropped a set in the tournament before last night's match, had to recover after Haas came from two sets down to level the match and force a tense fifth set. But after showing signs of yielding to the pressure which he so rarely faces in the third and fourth sets, Roger regained his trademark composure in the fifth to take home the match.


Things began to go horribly wrong for Haas in the first game of the second set, when broken by Roger. The rest of the set was a blur, leaving Haas sitting in his chair staring into space as Roger waited to deliver the third-set coup de grace and a big portion of the crowd headed towards Richmond station after only 63minutes of tennis. Haas cleared one psycho logical hurdle when he won the first game of the third set on his serve, and held twice more.


Then, in the sixth game, the unthinkable hap pened as Haas broke Roger to love, then hung on to take Roger into the uncharted territory of a fourth set. Roger was looking more and more ragged as Haas began to shine. In the third game of the fourth set, Roger stood at the net and volleyed back four of Haas' attempted passes before punching what he thought was the winning volley, only to see Haas fling himself full-length to put it back, tak ing the point, then the game. Fittingly, another diving Haas volley set up set point and took Roger further on an unwanted excursion into the Melbourne night.


The decider was a microcosm of the match, all desperation and inspiration, but something had to give, and Roger broke Haas in the sixth game with a close line ball that had the German fuming but was correct. He then broke him again in the eighth to clinch the match.


Roger said he was delighted to win a five-set match at Melbourne Park's centre court. "This is for me a big match, to win in five (sets) on Rod Laver Arena ... I've lost many heartbreakers here, so this is a good feeling now."

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