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Haas To Face Falla, Del Potro Streak Hits 16 Matches

Washington, D.C. USA

Alejandro Falla © Getty ImagesAlejandro Falla in Washington

Fourth-seeded German Tommy Haas broke serve twice in the final three games to defeat Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 7-6(4), 6-3 to reach the Legg Mason Tennis Classic quarterfinals in Washington Wednesday.

"I'm happy to have finally beaten him," said Haas. "I had lost to him in the two previous times we played and today I feel like I played a good match. I was mad after getting broken when serving for the set at 5-3, when I hit three double faults, but then I was able to win the set in the tie-break. I feel I'm playing very solid from the back and when I put my serve in I know I can win most of the points."

Haas, 30, is making his fourth appearance in Washington (7-3 record). He defeated qualifier Rik de Voest 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 in the first round on Monday.

The former World No. 2 made his tournament debut in 1997 (l. to Korda in QFs), reached the 2001 third round (l. to Golmard) and 2007 quarterfinals (l. to Isner). Haas has a 13-9 record at North American hard-court events this year (16-12 overall in 2008).

Currently World No. 48, Haas is at his lowest point in the South African Airways ATP Rankings since August 9, 2004. The 6’2” right-hander had reached two ATP quarterfinals at ATP Masters Series Indian Wells (l. to Federer) and Indianapolis (l. to Simon) this year prior to Washington.

Haas will face World No. 121 Alejandro Falla (pictured) for a place in the semifinals after the Colombian came through a tight second round clash with Florent Serra 7-6(2), 7-6(11).

"Falla is a tough player," Haas said. "He has won two good matches so I will need to play a solid match if I want to win."

Falla saved four set points in both sets. In the first set he saved four set points when serving at 5-6, 30/40 and later three ad-outs. In the second Falla broke the Frenchman when Serra served for the set at 6-5. In the second-set tie-break Falla saved four set points at 5/6, 7/8, 8/9 and 9/10.

The 24-year-old Falla, who defeated fifth-seeded American Mardy Fish in the first round on Tuesday, improves to an 8-10 match record for the season. The Bogota resident, who is enjoying his finest run in four visits to Washington, is through to his first ATP quarterfinal since 2007 Lyon, where he went on to reach the semifinals (l. to Gicquel).

Chasing his fourth consecutive title, Argentine Juan Martin del Potro claimed his 16th consecutive match win with a 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 win over Israeli Dudi Sela. Del Potro, who beat Andy Roddick in last week's Los Angeles final, lost just seven points in the first set.

"I think I played a good match overall," del Potro said. "In the end of the second set, when I was close to winning, the match got a little out of hand. But even after losing the second set I didn't panic. I have some confidence at the moment so I just told myself I needed 30 to 40 more minutes in the court and I should give my best to win. That's what happened. I'm happy for the win."

John Isner, last year's finalist, served 17 aces in a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over fellow America Donald Young. There was just one break point chance in the match, which Isner converted at 4-4 in the first set. The 6' 9" Isner put 79 percent of first serves into play.

Isner improved to a 7-1 record in Washington. In those eight matches he has played 22 sets, 14 of which have gone to tie-breaks. Isner has won nine of those 14 tie-breaks.


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