Fri, Aug 03, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Haas makes triumphant return

MUSCLE TROUBLE In his first match since injury scuppered his Wimbledon campaign, Tommy Haas easily booked a place in the third round in Washington

AFP , WASHINGTONAP, CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA

Tommy Haas was triumphant in his first match since a torn stomach muscle forced him to withdraw from Wimbledon, beating Alejandro Falla 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

German second seed Haas pulled out of Wimbledon before a fourth-round match against Swiss world No. 1 Roger Federer but was rarely in jeopardy in his comeback, advancing to face US player Michael Russell in the third round.

"It felt fine," Haas said. "I felt the stomach a little bit but not to the point where I couldn't serve. The serve was the big factor at Wimbledon that destroyed my stomach muscle."

Haas, who lost his only prior meeting with Falla in March at Miami, broke the Colombian in the eighth game of the first set and three times in the second set for the victory.

It was the first time since Wimbledon that Haas had played two sets, coming after a month's layoff and his first two real workouts since Wimbledon on Monday and Tuesday. The muscle looked good after an MRI exam last week.

"It was a test," Haas said. "Overall I'm pretty pleased. I was a step slow but that will come back."

Ninth-ranked Haas, 27-8 on the year, won his 398th career ATP match to open a quest for his 12th career title and second this year, having beaten Washington top seed Andy Roddick in February's Memphis final.

Otherwise, it was a day of upsets at the US$600,000 US Open tuneup event, with Sweden's Thomas Johansson ousting defending champion and fourth seed Arnaud Clement of France 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Clement, playing after a right-side muscle tear that had kept him off the court 10 days, overpowered the 2002 Australian Open winner to take the first set in 30 minutes but Johansson's fightback was too much.

"After 6-1, I thought maybe I could win this match," Clement said. "Then he played a little better and I was a little tight. He was just better than me the last two sets. I was very relaxed. I just came this year because I won last year. I didn't expect to play this well a few days ago, so for me it's not such a bad day."

US novice John Isner, in only his second ATP event, fired 30 aces to beat German eighth seed Benjamin Becker 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (8/6). One day after ousting Britain's Tim Henman, the 22-year-old ATP hardcourt debutante sparkled again.

Chakvetadze breezes ahead

Anna Chakvetadze began her pursuit of a third straight WTA Tour title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Meghann Shaughnessy on Wednesday at the Acura Classic.

The Russian handled her US counterpart with little difficulty in her first match of the tournament. Chakvetadze will face Ai Sugiyama of Japan in the third round after the unseeded Sugiyama defeated No. 15 Sybille Bammer of Austria, 6-2, 7-6 (3).

Wednesday's victory extended Chakvetadze's winning streak to 10 matches.

The No. 3 seed has won 21 of 23 matches since the beginning of May.

"I do have confidence, but I feel I am tired as well. It's tough to play too much tennis, especially since last week I was playing doubles and singles," said Chakvetadze, who is playing doubles with Victoria Azarenka.

Chakvetadze, ranked No. 6 by the WTA Tour, is attempting to add the Acura crown to the titles she won last week at the Bank of the West Classic and in late June at the Ordina Open in the Netherlands.

Top seeded Maria Sharapova looked sharp in her first match of the tournament, a 6-1, 6-3 second-round win over Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand in the featured night match. Sharapova, ranked second in the world, broke Tanasugarn's serve twice early in the first set and took a 4-0 lead. The Russian, a two-time Grand Slam champ, was never threatened in the match.

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