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Haas Opens Halle Defence; Gasquet Joins Germans In QFs

Halle, Germany

Defending champion Tommy Haas went one for 17 on his break points in his second-round opener at the Gerry Weber Open, but still overcame Latvian Ernests Gulbis and his 15 aces, 7-6(5), 6-4, on Thursday.

“It’s always nice winning matches like this, especially when you didn’t use the chances so much,” said the third-seeded Haas, who was unable to convert his first 16. “Had a lot of break chances in the first set, couldn’t really take advantage of them. A lot of the time I didn’t have much of a chance actually because he was serving really well, hitting the shots when he needed them. Luckily I won the first set in a tie-break. 

“Even in the beginning of the second set, another couple of break opportunities. Couldn’t capitalise on those either, so it was very important for me to stay mellow and wait for my chance again, but finally I could break him and it helped me to win the match.”

The 35-year-old German improves to a 25-10 mark at the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament, and will face off against Frenchman Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals. Monfils leads Haas 2-1 in the FedEx ATP Head2Head series, but this will be their first encounter on grass.

“Another very tough one,” said Haas. “Monfils is playing extremely well again. He’s been injured for a while, but he’s been playing since the beginning of the year, so he’s on the way back to the top where he belongs.”

Both players are coming off noteworthy performances at Roland Garros. Haas reached the quarter-finals for the first time at the clay-court major, while Monfils defeated Tomas Berdych and Gulbis in the first two rounds. 

Watch Highlights: Gasquet | Mayer | Kohlschreiber

Second seed Richard Gasquet recorded a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Jurgen Melzer in his opening match. Melzer is now 12-55 lifetime against Top 10 opponents in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Gasquet has won two ATP World Tour titles this year at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open (d. Davydenko) and the Open Sud de France in Montpellier (d. Paire). 

KohlschreiberGasquet goes onto eighth seed Florian Mayer, who was a 6-2, 6-3 victor over Leonardo Mayer. "I can go far for sure," said Gasquet. "[But] I can lose too. Every match is difficult. I lost to Florian last year at Wimbledon. He’s a tough opponent on grass. It will be difficult. But I’m here to win."

FedEx Reliability Zone: Grass-Court Giants

Sixth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, the 2011 champion, struck 12 aces past fellow German Tobias Kamke in a 6-4, 6-3 win to reach the Halle quarter-finals for the eighth time in nine appearances. He goes onto play Mikhail Youzhny. "I feel comfortable here," said Kohlschreiber. "The atmosphere is very special here. It’s a great grass court tournament. I play well, so it’s huge fun."

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