Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Haas reaches goals as quickly as he sets them


German's ranking now up to No.67

By Dustin Dow
Enquirer staff writer

MASON - The comeback for Germany's Tommy Haas has officially been accelerated.

Agassi
Andre Agassi returns in the third set against Mardy Fish during first round play at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.
(Craig Ruttle/The
Cincinnati Enquirer)
More photos from Monday

TENNIS COVERAGE
Mason showcases stars
Agassi wins after vow to go down swinging
Relaxed Federer has tight grip on top spot
French champ seeks success on hard courts
Haas reaches goals as quickly as he sets them
Injured Clijsters joins fiance Hewitt at tourney
Russian ends losing streak with first win in two months
Fish's bad back serves up another loss
Masters results, schedules

Returning to the ATP Tour this year following a 15-month layoff because of a shoulder injury, Haas originally set two goals: breaking into the top 100, and winning a tournament.

But after defeating countryman Rainer Schuettler 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 Monday in the first round of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, Haas has upped the ante.

"One of my goals is now to get into the Top 50 by the end of the year," Haas said. "Those (initial) goals were just the goals I set when I started getting back into my second career in the middle of February."

Haas has already reached his other goal by winning two tournaments - in Houston in April, and in Los Angeles three weeks ago. He entered this week ranked No. 67.

In upsetting No. 8-ranked Schuettler, Haas showed glimpses of the talent that took him to No. 2 in the world in 2002 before he tore a rotator cuff and missed all of 2003.To keep from dwelling on what could have been, Haas labeled this year's comeback his second career.

"It was a huge gap not competing in a match for 15 months," Haas said. "It's quite a long time, so in my eyes, I wanted to forget about that and start anew. ... Winning two titles this year already has given me some kind of confidence I can compete with the big guys. That's very important for me."

Haas plays Sargis Sargsian today at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Sargsian beat Michel Kratochvil 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 Monday. Emotionally, playing the Armenian Sargsian might be easier for Haas than Schuettler. The Germans were roommates for the 2000 Olympics and will room together again in two weeks in Athens.

"I really like him on and off the court," Haas said of Schuettler. "On the court you have to forget who you're playing and try to win. It's tough to show emotions and pump my fist when I know the person on the other side of the net. I'm glad it's over with."

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E-mail ddow@enquirer.com




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Photos from Monday
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Relaxed Federer has tight grip on top spot
French champ seeks success on hard courts
Haas reaches goals as quickly as he sets them
Injured Clijsters joins fiance Hewitt at tourney
Russian ends losing streak with first win in two months
Fish's bad back serves up another loss
Masters results, schedules

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