Haas Returns To Masters 1000 Winning Ways

Maybe Tommy Haas should reconsider this whole retirement thing.

The 39-year-old German, in the midst of his 10th comeback, needed only 69 minutes to knock out Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-3 on Tuesday at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

Haas, the oldest player in the draw, feasted on second serves, winning almost 80 per cent of his second-serve points and nearly 75 per cent of Paire’s. The win was Haas’ first in Monte-Carlo since 2004, when he beat Xavier Malisse. The right-hander hadn’t played at the Masters 1000 tournament since 2008.

“I think when you go out there and compete, you hope for the best, that is to try to play well and try to win,” Haas said. “Any time that happens, obviously, at this stage for me, it’s a very nice feeling, of course. I just try to build from that. Try to get stronger physically, get more used to playing matches again, points when it counts. You can do a lot of things in practice and off court, but you cannot replicate that for match play. I’m very happy to get another chance to go out there again tomorrow and keep working on my tennis game when it counts.”

Haas improved to 2-4 on the season. He earned his first victory of the year last week in Houston by beating 19-year-old American Reilly Opelka in three sets.

Paire has been in good form. The right-hander, No. 40 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, was coming off a semi-final showing last week at the clay-court Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech. The 27 year old had won their previous FedEx ATP Head2Head match-up, after Haas had to retire because of illness down two sets to love earlier this season at the Australian Open.

“There is no better, bigger satisfaction than when you go out there, competing and winning. In this case for me, it’s a big satisfaction,” Haas said. “I’m very proud of the fact that I’m actually still out there, competing at this age. Due to setbacks and injuries I’ve had, I could have easily thrown in the towel a couple times. But I’m still out there trying to finish this game on my own terms. That’s what I’m doing. I’m proud of that.”

Haas will meet ninth seed Tomas Berdych in the second round. Their FedEx ATP Head2Head series is even at 2-all, but they haven’t played since 2012.

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