HEAD racquet rebel Tommy Haas turned in another standout performance, coming close to his second title this season at home, with the HEAD player falling just short of Argentine Juan Monaco 7-5, 6-4 in the final of the Bet-at-Home Open German Championships in his birthplace of Hamburg.
Haas, winner of the grass title last month at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle earned the match with Monaco after knocking out three seeds during the week: No. 2 holder Gilles Simon and two fellow HEAD racquet rebels: Germany's Wimbledon quarter-finalist Florian Mayer and Marin Cilic in the semi-finals. Cilic, who won a title a week earlier in Umag, had won 15 of his last 16 matches before meeting Haas.
"The fact that I have once again reached the finals in front of my family is a dream," said an emotional Haas. "I hope to be back next year. I'm really motivated for the future." The loss was the first in a final for Haas in a decade. He had won all eight he had played since 2002 in Rome when he lost to Andre Agassi.
The oldest player in the ATP Top 50 first played in Hamburg in 1997, a decade and a half ago. He improved to No. 35 in the South African Airways ATP World Tour Ranking. After a comeback from hip surgery in recent seasons, Haas is moving back towards his best and has improved his ATP ranking markedly since breaking the Top 100 only two months ago with a French Open third round showing.
"When I was a boy, I used to come here and watch the stars play, so to have a chance of winning this tournament myself, it's one of the finest moments of my career," said Haas. "I tried to play my best, I thought I played really well throughout the match. Having the crowd support really lifted me to another gear. I really didn't know if I was going to be able to get this feeling one more time, especially here in Hamburg. To have experienced another week like this with getting to the final is obviously another dream week for me."