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Haas gives Germany 1-0 lead

Update 12.50 pm. Veteran German Tommy Haas has given his country the early lead in its tie against Italy, prevailing over Andreas Seppi in straight sets.
2 January 2013, by Hopman Cup

By Dave Lindsay

Veteran German Tommy Haas has given his country the early lead in its tie against Italy, prevailing over Andreas Seppi in straight sets.

The players are separated by two spots in the world rankings and were difficult to split in this morning’s contest with Haas having the better of two tiebreakers, 7-6(3) 7-6(7).

“We both played a really good match, high quality tennis overall and very competitive. It came down to a few points here and there and I was lucky enough to save those four set points in the second to win in a tiebreak,” said Haas.

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Despite the Italian holding an edge in the serving department, launching 13 aces to his opponent’s three, he was unable to claim cheap points when it mattered in the tiebreakers.

Haas targeted the backhand of Seppi and also ventured to the net whenever possible with considerable success.

“I feel like I’m in the right position and I’m striking the ball I feel like it’s coming off well.

“Trying to feel out where you are after such a long off-season … not really a long off-season but you know since you’ve played a competitive match it’s something you can’t really practice so this is perfect and this is great to get back into the swing of things and overall I’m pretty pleased.”

Both players cruised through their early service games until the ninth game when Seppi appeared unsettled by the sun while serving at the southern end and, although he saved three break points, eventually succumbed to the powerful groundstrokes of the German.

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However, Haas also found the serving conditions challenging and handed the break back immediately as the set headed to a tiebreak.

Seppi’s battles at the southern end of centre court continued and he lost composure early in the tiebreak; Haas proving the more consistent of the pair, taking the tiebreak 7-3.

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The tight contest continued through the second set with only Haas earning break points and neither player able to force an opening.

The Italian gained the ascendancy in the second set tiebreak and held three set points when leading 6-3 but was unable to close it out, leaving the door open for Haas.

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Haas saved a fourth set point when serving at 6-7 and then rattled off three consecutive points to snatch the contest and give Germany a 1-0 lead in the tie.

It is the German’s first win of the tournament after losing a marathon three-set battle with Australia’s Bernard Tomic on Saturday while Seppi is yet to enjoy a victory, losing to world number one Novak Djokovic in the first round.

Francesca Schiavone will look to level the tie in the women’s singles when she takes to the court against Germany’s replacement player Tatjana Malek.

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