Photo: Paul ZimmerTommy Haas (GER)
Tommy Haas survived an incredible display of steely resolve from John Isner to defeat the American on his 13th match point and reach the round of 16 at Roland Garros for the first time since 2009.
Haas led Isner 75 76(4) 46 66 and had the American on the rack in a thrilling fourth-set tiebreak, only for the world No. 21, who defeated Ryan Harrison in five-sets in the second round, to threaten a comeback-win from 2-sets down for the second match in a row. But in the 17th game of the fifth-set, Haas dug in to break before serving out a memorable triumph in four hours 36 minutes.
“It's obviously a great match to be a part of, especially at such a big event against somebody that is very used to those kinds of matches," said Haas. "Unfortunately one has to lose, and I think it would have been more upsetting for me in this case, after having many chances in the fourth set there.”
"But it's crazy. It was a big roller coaster with not many thoughts in between. He had match point at 4-5, and somehow I saved that one. It went back and forth. It's definitely going to be one of the best matches to look back on, for sure."
Haas, who plays Mikhail Youzhny in the next round, is the first man aged over 35 to reach the round of 16 here since Johan Bjorkman did so aged 35 years 79 days in 2007. He and Youzhny are two of five men aged over 30 through to the fourth round in Paris.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Novak Djokovic breezed into the fourth round after defeating Grigor Dimitrov 62 62 63 while Rafael Nadal secured his first straight sets win of the tournament by defeating Fabio Fognini 76(5) 64 64.
In the women’s draw, Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Sloane Stephens and Jamie Hampton all joined Serena Williams in the fourth round after winning on Saturday. This is the highest number of Americans through to the fourth round since the 2004 US Open, when there were also four. The last time there were four Americans through to the fourth round at Roland Garros was also in 2004.
“Impressive, huh?,” said Hampton, who defeated former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, of the American success in Paris. “We’ve got a unique group I think between Serena, obviously the best player in the world, and Bethanie, Sloane, and myself. Three different players with very unique games, it's cool.”
The International Tennis Federation provides men’s information to the media at Grand Slams. For a full list of this year’s notes click here.