Defending champion and 3rd seed Robin Haase defeated 5th seed Martin Klizan, 6-3 6-3, to reach the Kitzbuhel final, where he will play top seed Philipp Kohlschreiber for the title.
Although Haase won this match in straight sets, it was hardly a straightforward victory. Haase had only one ace to his six double faults, although he managed to win a total of 96% of points behind his first serve. In the first set, Haase won all 12 of his 12 points on first serve. Still, Klizan took the first break of the match off an impressive BH pass, to go up 2*-1. However, Haase earned BP in the very next game, which he won to get the match back on serve. Haase would take the first set, 6-3.
Klizan tried to exploit Haase’s BH, by striking the ball to his opponent’s shoulders off that wing. However, Haase’s defense withstood the pressure. Klizan, who had been having a strong week at the Kitzbuhel tournament, started to play much more erratically — he was visibly irritated with his play and he earned the disfavor of the crowd with his displays of emotion. Haase converted on BP when a loose FH from Klizan strayed wide.
As Klizan served to stay in the match at 3-5*, he attempted a serve-volley at 15-15. Haase punished Klizan’s half-volley with a pass that brought him to 15-30. Klizan’s growing frustration was evident through his negative body language, and his netted forehand on the next point led to two MPs for Haase. Haase hit a forceful return-of-serve on the next point to force Klizan to net a dropshot, which secured Haase’s passage to the final.
The roar that accompanied Haase’s conversion of MP reinforces how important these post-Wimbledon clay court tournaments are to the players not ranked in the top tier of the ATP. The final between Haase and Kohlschreiber will be the first meeting between the two players.
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