The match started easy enough for Roger as he took a break in the very first game. You could see that Tommy was nervous and that was pretty much what I expected. Roger had another chance to move further ahead during game 5 but a shot wide and lovely cross-court backhand winner from Tommy saved the game. He gained some confidence from that hold and got the match level with a break of his own in the next game as Roger hit a very weak shot into the net. The momentum was certainly with the German now but he couldn’t put the 1st set to bed so a tiebreak settled it.
As with the set itself Roger too the early lead but unlike in the games Tommy this time found the breaks and moved ahead 4-2. Roger was not done just yet and got one of them back only to hit long with the next and Tommy was once again holding set points. Roger held this off but Tommy took the first chance on his own serve and that was the 1st set in the bag 7-6.
Roger was slightly un-nerved at the start of the second. He failed to take his two break points then followed this up by hitting 2 woeful double faults in a row during game 3. He was able to recover the game and we continued on serve.
An absolutely wonderful exchange of shots from both players during game 9 was played out. Lobs and volleys were amongst the shots and Haas found the winner for the vital break. There was a slight scare at 15-0 when Roger took a massive fall and slide onto his side but he was ok, he even won the next point. But nothing was going to stop Tommy now and he held his nerve to clinch the title 7-6 6-4.
I attended both players’ press conferences and whilst Roger was understandably disappointed he was full of praise for his opponent today.
“But overall maybe I wasn’t as good as the previous days. But, then again, it had also something to do with the way Tommy was playing. He was aggressive; he was maybe the more inspired player out there today. And that’s why he deserved to win.”
“ I’m very impressed how well he played today in a best of three sets match on grass in the Final, in Halle, in Germany. This is going to be as tough as they come in terms of playing Tommy on any given surface. So, this was the toughest. But he’s a great player. I’ve played many big matches against him, won some and lost some but today he was better and I was very impressed.”
I got to ask Tommy two questions in his press conference, which was a very nice way to end the tournament for me.
Congratulations Tommy. You said yesterday that it was about time to beat Roger. How good does it feel to do it in straight sets?
“I don’t think it really matters how you do it. This was a long time coming since I had the chance to get to that point. Obviously I don’t have many words to say really except that it is an amazing feeling to win another title in Germany, my 13th title which is something like a goal of mine to maybe achieve in the next coming months, years, however long I am going to play and then you have someone like Roger across the net so its a real honour for me. To have that picture with the winners trophy and Roger next to me is something really special, something obviously I’ll never forget. I’m just really happy and proud.”
What are your expectations now for Wimbledon?
“I have to look at the draw first. There are so many good players. Depending on the draw, it’s best of 5 sets, it plays a little bit different than here. But I’m looking forward to going there. It’s obviously huge that I got a wild card there; I think they are happy they gave it to me too now (laughs). I’m just excited, I’m just going to see where I am in the draw and hopefully I can do some damage. That’s the goal, to do well.”