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Haas Finds Motivation In Daughter, 500 Wins Milestone

Halle, Germany

Haas© Bongarts/Getty ImagesTommy Haas is 19 wins away from reaching 500 tour-level victories.

At 34, German veteran Tommy Haas has no shortage of motivational goals driving  his resurgence on the ATP World Tour. On Friday the former World No. 2 upset former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych to reach the Gerry Weber Open semi-finals, where he will meet defending champion and countryman Philipp Kohlschreiber.

“I would like to celebrate my 500th victory on the ATP Tour,” said Haas, who has 481 career victories. “I would like to win another title. Thirteen is my lucky number and now I have 12. That would be great. And I would love my daughter to see me play live, but she has to grow a little in order for her to understand what I’m doing.”

Haas was sidelined for 14 months from late February 2010 to May 2011 after undergoing hip surgery and won just seven matches last season. This year he has worked overtime to return to full fitness and boost his South African Airways ATP Ranking, which is now at No. 87. Swallowing his pride, Haas returned to the qualifying rounds at ATP World Tour events and also dropped back to play Challengers.

His hard work has paid off. In the two tournaments leading into Halle, Haas won through three qualifying rounds at Roland Garros to reach the third round and before that advances to the semi-finals in Munich, beating World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marcos Baghdatis along the way. Haas admitted Friday that he had doubts his recent success would come.

“It’s difficult to believe but I think I hoped for it. Especially in my situation. I always tried to keep on fighting and having a few goals helps to keep motivated. That is very important. But I didn’t think that I would play like I did here or making it to the semis in Munich and beating a Top 10 player.”

Receiving great support Friday from German fans – who shouted ‘Tommy, Tommy’, Haas admitted that he was emotional after clinching the win over World No. 7 Berdych. “With the spectators supporting me it’s really fun,” he said. “You also shouldn’t forget that I won in 2009 and couldn’t defend my title the following year. that really upsets me.

“Now I have the feeling that I’m playing well and I know that I’m difficult to beat when I can play to the limit I’m able to play. So who knows? We’ll see what will happen tomorrow. Maybe I’ll make it to another final here. That would be unbelievable. But also my opponent wants to make it to the final and defend his title. So, there’s a lot at stake. We’ll see.”

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Gerry Weber Open, Halle, Tommy Haas

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