Tommy Haas won his second Erste Bank Open title on Sunday, a dozen years after claiming his first, with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 defeat of Robin Haase.
Victory over the Dutchman took 2 hours, 15 minutes and denied Haase his third trophy in Austria after winning twice on clay at Kitzbuehel.
Haas first won in Vienna in 2001, having lost the final the year before to Tim Henman.
“Winning a title doesn’t come around that often, so it’s a great feeling having done it twice this year,” said Haas, the father of a young daughter whom he said is one of the main motivations keeping him on court at the age of 35.
“It’s a great feeling to have done it here again,” added Hass, who lived in Vienna for nine months as a child because his father was Austrian. “This is really a special place for me, it’s all a great feeling for sure.”
Haas, who also won Munich on clay in the spring, stayed in the race for one of the four spots remaining in the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals starting in two weeks in London.
He currently stands in provisional 12th place.
“I still have a small chance, but I have to play extremely well,” he said of the slim possibility of earning a place in the season wrap-up for the first time.
He will try to push his case over the final two weeks of the regular season in Valencia next week, followed by the Paris Masters.
“It may mean that I have to win Paris,” he said. “I have to give my best tennis, nothing is impossible. I want to play good tennis for the rest of the season.”
Haas, with 15 career titles from his 27 finals, hit back after going down an early break in the first set against Haase, with the German winning six of the next seven games to claim the set and begin the second with a break of serve.
Haase broke back and eventually squared the final at one set each on a lob winner.
In the deciding set, Haas broke for 5-4 and took victory a game later on his opponent’s long forehand.
“It was back and forth at the start,” Haas said. “It was a final and we were both perhaps a bit nervous.”
“I got a better groove going and moved up a set and a break, but I played some loose errors and he got back in the match. He took the initiative and I didn’t feel like I was playing my best tennis, I changed racquets to try and get a bit more firepower and won the next four games. It was good enough to win today even if I was not playing my best,” the German said.
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov battled back from a set down to stun topseeded Spaniard David Ferrer and claim his first ATP title in Stockholm on Sunday.
The 28th-ranked Dimitrov won through 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 against world No. 3 Ferrer for the 22-year-old’s first victory over the Spaniard in four meetings.
The boyfriend of Russian star Maria Sharapova mixed up his game to ambush the more experienced Ferrer, playing in his 40th final.
“[It’s a] dream come true,” said an emotional Dimitrov, who was competing in just his second final. “Everyone has always told me how important a step this is.”
Sharapova, who has called time on her own season because of injury, was watching from the sidelines and took to Twitter to congratulate Dimitrov.
“Wow! What a special moment,” the Russian tweeted.
Sunday’s win, which will send Dimitrov to a career-high of 22 in the world, also came at his first event with new coach Roger Rasheed at the helm.
“We met before and wanted to see how it would work on a regular basis,” Dimitrov told atpworldtour.com of his collaboration with the former coach of Lleyton Hewitt.
“This was a good stage to do so. We have two more tournaments to play and only time will tell for the rest,” he added.