A rubber match between former two-time champion Tommy Haas and USA’s Steve Johnson is scheduled to take place in the opening round of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle. This is the third encounter between the two competitors, and the second time they clash this season, after Johnson upset Haas at Delray Beach. The head-to-head series is tied at 1-1.
After struggling through injuries for the majority of the first quarter of the season, Tommy Haas began his clay court season with a semi-final appearance in Munich, before losing in the opening round of the Madrid Masters to Igor Sijsling. He would rebound with another strong week in Rome, where he would reach the quarter-finals before losing to budding Bulgarian talent Grigor Dimitrov. Sadly, he would conclude the clay portion of the season with a disappointing first-round exit to Jurgen Zopp after he was forced to retire from the match down 2-5 with a shoulder injury.
Steve Johnson reached the second round of the French Open, where he lost to his fellow countryman Jack Sock. He would quickly leave Paris to head to Nottingham, where he took part in the Aegon Trophy Challengers event. He began by beating Britain’s James Ward, then Michael Berrer, before losing to eventual finalist Gilles Muller in the quarter-finals. On the ATP World Tour, Johnson is 7-8, with his best performance taking place in his semi-final effort at Delray Beach.
The two-time champion in Halle will be looking to start his grass court season in strong fashion, but it will be interesting to see if he will come into the tournament injury-free, or if he will be hampered once again by his shoulder. Johnson already holds a win over Haas this season on hard courts, but it will be a far different experience for him on grass. The result of the match will ultimately depend on Haas’ health.
Prediction: Tommy Haas in Three Sets