Monday 18 December 2017

'Mystified' Haas shocks Federer

Tommy Haas showed he was still capable of springing a surprise at the age of 34 by ending a three-year title drought and beating second seed Roger Federer 7-6 6-4 in the Halle Open final yesterday.

The German, who needed a wildcard to play in the event as he is now ranked 87th, had declared himself 'mystified' with his unexpected passage to the final.

He was even more amazed after beating a 30-year-old opponent who was the overwhelming favourite to win a sixth title at the Wimbledon warm-up event.

Haas' win also snapped a 10-year losing streak against Federer, with the Swiss having won their last nine meetings dating back to the 2002 Paris Masters.

Haas last captured a title at the same grasscourt venue in 2009. Just weeks later he enjoyed his most successful run at Wimbledon when he reached the semi-finals and will be hoping the result will also be a launchpad for another run deep into the tournament.

Federer has already enjoyed a memorable week at the German town in North Rhine-Westphalia after the main pathway up to the tennis stadium was named after him.

The 16-times Grand Slam champion is unlikely to be too concerned about failing to clear the final hurdle here as he would have fine-tuned his game for Wimbledon during the four matches he has played in the tournament.

CYCLING

Manx rider Mark Cavendish has won the Ster ZLM Toer in Holland -- the first general classification win of his career.

The 27-year-old boasted an eight-second lead over nearest challenger Lars Boom at the top of the standings heading into yesterday's fourth and final stage and he kept that advantage intact as he finished safely in the main pack following a sprint finish to take the overall victory.

Germany's Marcel Kittel claimed yesterday's stage victory having also won on day one, the Argos-Shimano rider finishing the 163-kilometre ride from Schijndel to Boxtel in a time of three hours, 35.54 minutes.

Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) was second with third spot going to Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol), who also finished third overall behind Cavendish and Dutchman Boom (Rabobank).

CRICKET

England batsman Ian Bell said he hoped his match-winning century against West Indies would mark a turning point in his one-day international career.

Playing as an opener, Bell hit 126 as England beat West Indies by 114 runs in a rain-affected match at the Rose Bowl.

"Today was my day and I really enjoyed it," Bell stated.

"I'm a better player now than last time I was at the top of the order. Hopefully I can take my Test match form into one-day cricket now."

Bell was dropped from the England one-day squad earlier this year after scoring only one century in 108 innings.

Irish Independent

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