Haase Breaks New Ground In Montreal
World No. 52 making deep run in Canada
Robin Haase dared to dream and delivered on Friday when he booked a spot in the Coupe Rogers semi-finals, his first at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.
Haase extended his perfect record to 5-0 against Argentinean Diego Schwartzman in a hard-fought 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 quarter-final victory over two hours and four minutes.
"I'm really happy," said Haase. "I played a lot of good matches, especially yesterday against [Grigor] Dimitrov. It's tough to come back and play that same level. I didn't, but I managed to win because I kept fighting. You could see that we were both mentally... It took a lot out of us. We beat good guys. We've been playing really well. Then to do it on this stage again for your first semis, it's not easy."
The Dutchman, competing at his 35th tournament at the Masters 1000 level, will next face Swiss second seed and two-time former champion Roger Federer or No. 12 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. Haase's previous best result had been one quarter-final exit at the 2012 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (l. to Djokovic).
Haase, reflecting on his career, admitted, "I wasn't the player I was before my injury. I was not as fast. I was insecure. I had a lot of problems with other injuries after. Then this kind of eats you up inside mentally. It drains you because you know you can do better, but actually your own body is not letting you. That took me, honestly, a couple of years to get more calm in my head, that I have to deal with it.
"I've been working on it a lot in the past few years. I started to believe more and more again. My game is better. Then I started this year winning back-to-back matches against really good players. Then you're thinking, 'Okay, it might happen again.' That it happens, it's just awesome."
Schwartzman played aggressively from the outset, pouncing on any half chance in the opener, but lapses in concentration coupled with tiredness – after three straight three-setters – let Haase back into the match. While Haase tightened up and let slip a 3-0 lead in the decider, from 3-3 he lost only six points for his 24th match win of the year.
“The week for me was very good, but I am now disappointed as I don’t think I played well in the second and third sets,” Schwartzman told ATPWorldTour.com. “I didn’t play too well from the baseline, but Haase served better to get back into the match."