Haas downs Wang to progress

END OF THE ROAD::Jimmy Wang proved no match for Tommy Haas at Wimbledon, while Andy Murray beat Tommy Robredo to sweep into the fourth round in style

AP and AFP, LONDON

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 - Page 19

With all the men playing under the US flag out before the third round, there’s still one legitimate American man left in the draw at Wimbledon.

Playing some of the best tennis of his career at age 35, Tommy Haas — who has dual German-American citizenship — reached the third round for the first time since 2009, beating 151st-ranked qualifier Jimmy Wang of Taiwan 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 on Friday.

Wang’s defeat ended Taiwanese interest in the singles competitions at the All England Club.

Asked whether he would be comfortable being identified as the last American standing, Haas smiled and said: “You can write that, sure. That’s fine with me.”

The 13th-seeded Haas had considered playing as an American — and even had the ATP Web site list him as an American when he became a US citizen in 2010 — but decided to remain loyal to Germany.

“If you had a German-American flag, I would represent that flag but it doesn’t exist,” Haas said. “In the long run I played for Germany for too long.”

Meanwhile, Andy Murray insists he can cope with the pressure of being a favorite for the Wimbledon title after the world No. 2 swept into the fourth round in emphatic fashion.

While Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and a host of other leading seeds have crashed out in a chaotic opening week at the All England Club, Murray has enjoyed the perfect start to his challenge.

The US Open champion brushed aside Spanish 32nd seed Tommy Robredo 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 in the third round on Friday to move into the second week without dropping a set in his first three matches.

With Nadal, Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marin Cilic all eliminated from Murray’s half of the draw, his path to the final is looking less treacherous by the day.

Many pundits are tipping Murray to finally end Britain’s 77-year wait for a male singles winner at Wimbledon and the Scot is well aware expectations are mounting.

“I think there’s a lot more pressure on me now with them being out,” Murray said. “I don’t read the papers, but there are papers in the locker room, so you see some of the headlines. It’s not that helpful, but you need to be professional enough to not let that stuff bother you.”

Murray will not be getting carried away, as he is likely to have to face world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final, but things seem to be going his way.

Not only has Murray been helped by the list of big-name casualties, but he will also enjoy a two-day rest before returning to action tomorrow.

“I haven’t played that many times on the Friday at Wimbledon, so it’s a little bit new for me. I’ve only had the extra day of rest once or maybe twice in seven or eight years here,” Murray said.

“Roger [Federer] often played on Friday. He had a pretty good record here, but I don’t know if it’s got anything to do with the two days off over the weekend,” he said.

Additional reporting by staff writer