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Haas, Del Potro, Murray Advance In Rotterdam; Cilic Ousts Tsonga

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Haas© Henk KosterTommy Haas will play Jerzy Janowicz in the Rotterdam second round.

Germany veteran Tommy Haas won on his debut at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on Wednesday, defeating Fernando Verdasco in a brutal encounter, 6-7(4), 7-6(1), 7-5 in two hours and 30 minutes.

Haas, who led 3-0 in the first set, now leads Verdasco 3-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. It was their first meeting since the 2009 US Open. The oldest player in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings at 35, Haas will next play Jerzy Janowicz in the second round. 

“It’s even better winning a round when you are making your debut at a tournament,” said Haas. “It was a tough match. I had a couple of chances in the first set, up a break and then in the tie-break. I felt I got a little unlucky, when he took it. I did well to recover a break in the third set, so I am pleased that I stayed with him.”

Playing his first tournament since undergoing treatment for a left wrist complaint, top seed Juan Martin del Potro shrugged off tough resistance from last week's Montpellier champion Gael Monfils to reach the second round with a 7-6(6), 6-3 win. The Argentine was broken when he served for the first set and later had to fend off break points in the final game of the match. He next plays French veteran Paul-Henri Mathieu.

"My left wrist is getting better," del Potro said. "It's improving day by day. I think I played 50 per cent slices. For the next match I will try to play more my regular backhand. I don't feel pain at the moment, which is good. I will do my treatment now and hopefuly be better for tomorrow."


Watch Wednesday highlights watch live streaming from Rotterdam.

Second seed Andy Murray took his first step towards a second Rotterdam title with a 6-3, 6-3 first-round win over Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Murray hit 29 winners to 19 unforced errors to set a meeting with 20-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem.

"I moved well. For me that’s a big part of my game," said Murray. "Sometimes at the beginning of weeks it can be tough to get used to a new surface in terms of your movement. But from the beginning of the match, I made it tough for him to hit any winners and kept making him play one extra ball. Hopefully as the week goes on I’ll start to hit the ball better with each match."

Murray, who has finished in the Top 4 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for six consecutive years, won the Rotterdam title in 2009.

Fourth-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet rallied from a set down to beat Dutchman Thiemmo de Bakker 6-7(5), 7-6(2), 6-3. A finalist last week in Montpellier, Gasquet is now 8-3 on the year and next meets German Philipp Kohlschreiber.

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Croatia’s Marin Cilic kept up his impressive display of form, knocking out fifth-seeded Frenchman and 2011 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-4 to become the first player to reach the quarter-finals. The 25 year old won 88 per cent of first service points and saved all three break points faced during the one hour, 11-minute match.

Cilic, who won his 10th ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors, extended his winning streak to seven straight matches and improved to a 3-1 record in the FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Tsonga.

"To beat Tsonga is always a great achievement, especially this early in the season," said Cilic. "I think a great week last week in Zagreb has helped me to get in good form, to get to play a lot of matches. To win many [matches] in a row, that’s what I think every player is looking for in the beginning of the season. So it's great to be in the quarter-finals."

Nicolas Mahut hit 13 aces past lucky loser Daniel Brands, losing just three of his first service points in a 7-5, 6-3 victory to set up a clash against third seed Tomas Berdych.

In another Court 1 match, qualifier Dominic Thiem, who is currently World No. 113, fired down 15 aces and saved seven of eight break points to knock out Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours.

In doubles action, third seeds Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic defeated James Cerretani and Adil Shamasdin 6-4, 3-6, 10-5. Cerretani and Shamasdin has stepped in as a late replacement for Jonathan Marray and Dmitry Tursunov, who withdrew due to Tursunov's leg injury.

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