Vienna – Tommy Haas reached a third final at the Austrian Open on Saturday as furious opponent Lukas Rosol cracked a racquet in half when facing six match points, drawing a point penalty which handed his opponent a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-0) win.
Haas, seeded second and champion at the Stadthalle 12 years ago and losing finalinst in 2000 to Tim Henmam, will wait for an opponent from top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Dutchman Robin Haase.
“I first played here in 1997, so to be back in the final in 2013 is great, it's very special.” said Haas. “I feel good about it, I'm very happy.
“Overall I knew it would be a tough match, he's the kind of opponent who once he gets some confidence can be very tough. That's how it was. it all came down to a few points.
“The tiebreak in the third set was key, I played it well and he gave me some unforced errors, which helped. It came down to a few points.”
Rosol found himself trailing badly in the final-set tiebreak against the 35-year-old Haas when the Czech's temper finally snapped.
The eighth seed netted a forehand to hand Haas his handful of winning chances. With that error, the Czech exploded, slamming his stick to the ground and then snapping it over one knee.
It was enough of an outburst to draw a point penalty, giving victory to Haas in just over one and three-quarter hours.
Despite 18 aces from Rosol, Haas hung tough after dropping the first set in 24 minutes, recovering with a steady comeback throughout the second and third sets to earn his 46th victory of the season against 19 losses.
The German remains in the chase for one of four spots remaining in the eight-man season wrapup starting in little more than a fortnight in London. Tsonga is also chasing a spot, standing provisional ninth the the 12th of Haas.
Haas, winner of his 14th title last May in Munich, has never gone to the year-end event. He is the fifth German to reach the Vienna final, with three of them winning the title. – AFP