Tue, Aug 01, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Tommy Haas rebounds to win Countrywide Classic

BUILDING MOMENTUM Haas lost the first set to Dmitry Tursunov, but the Russian's errors cost him in the second, and it was all downhill from there

AP , LOS ANGELES

Tommy Haas of Germany reacts after defeating Dmitry Tursunov of Russia in the final of the Countrywide Classic tennis tournament in Los Angeles on Sunday.

PHOTO: AP

Germany's Tommy Haas won his third title of the year and second Los Angeles championship in three years when he beat Russian Dmitry Tursunov 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the Countrywide Classic on Sunday.

"I'll try to keep this going for the next couple of weeks," Haas said. "It's not going to get any easier, but I feel like if I can stay healthy, stay in shape and keep playing tough matches, I'm heading the right way going into the US Open."

The Open begins on Aug. 28.

Sixth-seeded Haas bounced back from a first-set loss to keep the pressure on eighth-seeded Tursunov, who was playing in his first tour final.

The 23-year-old Russian, who has lived in California since he was 12, won the first set with hard, accurate groundstrokes, but his game began unraveling in the 12th game of the second.

A forehand long, a carom off his racket frame and another forehand into the net by Tursunov helped Haas break his serve and tie the match at a set apiece.

"Maybe he was thinking about being close to winning his first title. I know it was his first final," Haas said. "So I was just trying to hold my serve and wait for my opportunities, which is what I did."

Haas broke Tursunov's serve again in the second game of the third set, then held serve for the rest of the way to add the 2006 Los Angeles championship to the one he won here in 2004.

"After I won the second set, I felt like I had the momentum and I held a quick, easy [serve] in the first game, then broke him right away to go up 2-love," Haas said.

"He might have lost his composure and started thinking, so I just tried to focus on playing my game," he said.

Tursunov, who has a wry sense of humor, took the loss in stride.

"He gets three trophies and I get one; I'm not coming back next year," Tursunov joked.

He downplayed the fact that it was his first final, grinning and saying, "I suppose I could have told myself, `If I win, I get more prize money -- and more phone numbers."

"He served well and I couldn't put any pressure on his serve. I'm happy I was playing well. I don't feel like I messed anything up," he said.

Haas has won 10 titles in his career, including victories at Delray Beach, Florida, and Memphis last February.

He hurt his wrist in April and went into a mild slump. But he has come back to win 13 of his last 17 matches.

The win was Haas' third in as many matches against Tursunov.

Both finalists have lived much of their lives in the US. Haas, a native of Hamburg, has been in Bradenton, Florida since he was 13. Tursunov, who lives in Roseville, California came over from Moscow when he was 12.

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