Haas Joins 500 Match Wins Club
Third seed Tommy Haas reached 500 match wins on Thursday in Vienna when he dismissed Jesse Levine 6-4, 6-2 in the second round of the Erste Bank Open.
Haas was presented a special Fiat 500 by tournament director Herwig Straka after becoming the 38th player in the Open Era to achieve the feat. He joins Roger Federer (871), Rafael Nadal (583) and Lleyton Hewitt (566) as the only active players to attain the milestone.
“I knew for a few days that I would reach the milestone if I won this match. This was a big goal of mine,” said Haas. “In April, I was at around 472 wins and I knew it wouldn't be easy to win another 27 or 28 matches. It makes me really proud and for sure this is one of my biggest achievements after everything that happened. The fact that it happened here in Vienna makes it very special. Getting such a gift on top of it makes it an amazing day for me.”
The 2001 champion Haas won 84 per cent of his first serve points and broke Levine three times to seal the victory in 80 minutes. The German improved to 3-0 against Levine with all their meetings coming on hard courts.
The 34-year-old Haas is aiming to lift his second trophy of the season, following his triumph over Federer on home soil at the Gerry Weber Open. He also finished runner-up at the ATP World Tour 500 events in Hamburg (l. to Monaco) and Washington (l. to Dolgopolov) and has a 31-15 season record.
“For now I’m focusing on next year,” Haas said. “One of my goals for this year was to win my 13th title since 13 is my lucky number. Next year is 2013 and as long as I'm fit I want to play the whole year.”
Haas will play qualifier Grega Zemlja next. The Slovenian beat Matthew Ebden 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 44 minutes. Zemlja won 76 per cent of his second serve return points.