While some may have expected a Wawrinka-Berdych encounter in the quarter-final, instead, budding talent Grigor Dimitrov and German No. 1 Tommy Haas are slotted to meet in the quarter-final round of the Italian Open on Friday. With the Haas vs Dimitrov head-to-head series tied at 1-1, this will serve as an intriguing rubber match.
World No. 19 Tommy Haas picked up his biggest victory so far this season, when he upset world No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarter-final round in Rome. While Haas’ performance was a strong one, the fault goes to Wawrinka, who hit 40 unforced errors and was clearly a shadow of his former self on this particular occasion.
The third set was a particularly telling one, as Wawrinka barely put up a fight when he was broken in the eighth game of the final set and allowed Haas to close out the match 6-3 in two hours.
“You have to be focused and line up the ball really well. You have to be mentally ready before you come in, then when you hit the shot you have to have the right footwork and know which side to cover. These guys are so fast these days and they have so much power. They can pass you from anywhere.
“So it’s very hectic, trying to play this type of game, but it’s important, especially for me. I don’t want to be the guy playing every other rally 20 shots back and forth. I don’t have the stamina for that too much anymore. I have to mix it up and I’m really happy that I did that. That was the game plan. It doesn’t always happen as well as it did today, so I’m really excited about that.”
The German has not gone this far in the tournament since he reached the final back in 2002, where he lost to Andre Agassi.
Haas’ upcoming opponent, Grigor Dimitrov, also rallied from a set down to defeat Tomas Berdych 6-7, 6-2, 6-2. The Bulgarian hit 8 aces, won 83% of his first service points, and capitalized on 5/13 break points opportunities to close out the match in 2 hours and 25 minutes.
Dimitrov and Haas have clashed on two previous occasions on the professional circuit, with the series tied at 1-1. Dimitrov won back in 2011, while Haas defeated the Bulgarian last year in Washington with a pair of tiebreakers. This is the first time they will meet on clay.
Prediction: Grigor Dimitrov in Three Sets