Roger Federer on Wednesday said that he was not shocked by his defeat to 39-year-old Tommy Haas at the Stuttgart Open in his first match after almost three months out of action.
Haas, a former world No. 2 now down at No. 302, won 2-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4 for just his fourth victory in 17 meetings against his close friend.
Federer, building up for an assault on an eighth Wimbledon title, had not played since March, skipping the entire clay-court season.
It was just the second defeat of the year for the 35-year-old, who claimed the Australian Open for his 18th major in January.
“I’m not so shocked to have lost. I knew I could lose against Tommy,” Federer said. “He was so good at the end and if I am happy for anybody, then it’s for Tommy.”
With a combined age of 74, it was the oldest match on the tour since 1982 as Haas, on a farewell year to the sport, made his first quarter-final since Rome in 2014.
Federer also held match point in his only other defeat this year to Russia’s Evgeny Donskoy in Dubai.
“It’s always special to play a close friend like Roger on grass, always lots of emotion,” said Haas, who has undergone nine surgeries in his career to mend a number of ailments. “I saved a match point in the second set so was able to play more freely after that. I even shocked myself.”
Federer, who fired 23 aces in the contest, had match point at 8-7 in the second-set tie-breaker, but hit a backhand long. The German took his opportunity and converted his fourth set point when Federer double faulted for the first time in the match.
Haas controlled the decider, breaking for 3-1 before going on to take the victory on a second match point.
He was to play compatriot Mischa Zverev, who beat qualifier and fellow German Yannick Hanfmann 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 in 83 minutes. Philipp Kohlschreiber, the runner-up last year, advanced by beating Steve Johnson of the US 7-6 (7/3), 5-7, 7-6 (10/8) in 2 hours, 39 minutes.
Taiwan’s Chuang Chia-jung and Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic bowed out of the women’s doubles at the Aegon Open in Nottingham, England, on Wednesday, losing to Johanna Konta of Britain and Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 10-5.
They missed the chance to face Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and Casey Dellacqua in the quarter-finals.
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