Roger Federer suffers shock defeat to 39-year-old
ROGER Federer admits he has only himself to blame after plunging to a shock loss at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart.
Contesting his first match after a two-month lay-off against 39-year-old Tommy Haas, Federer squandered a huge lead - and a match point - before losing 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-4.
The defeat is only Federer's second of the season.
"I thought it was a typical grass court match today," Federer said.
"Rallies weren't very long and it was decided on a serve there or a return here.
"If you don't take your chances like I didn't, leading a set and a break, you really only have yourself to blame at the end.
"You've got to acknowledge the fact that he was a bit better. It's quite frustrating, but that's the way it goes sometimes.
"It wasn't all bad, not at all.
"There were definitely some good moments, but I definitely was not as sharp as I was hoping to be in maybe the big moments, or the moment when I had the lead and where I feel I should have been cruising from that moment on. I definitely made some crucial mistakes and judgment errors.
"Tommy definitely played well when he had to. He hung around and was able to push me in the second set.
"In the third set I couldn't get up to the level I wanted. I should have somehow broken him once, but I wasn't able to do that."
For the 39-year-old Haas, this was exactly what he coveted when he decided to come back for one more season, following his ninth surgery in April 2016.
The two-time Halle champion, who last beat Federer in 2012, looked as comfortable as ever on the grass in Stuttgart, outplaying Federer in the final two sets to gain his biggest win in years.
Haas hadn't reached a quarter-final since Rome in 2014.
"I'm a little bit speechless that I beat him today," Haas said.
"It's been a while since I have won back-to-back matches and to do it today against Roger is obviously one of my career highlights. It's a very special feeling.
"At the same time he's a very close friend of mine so it doesn't feel like such a celebration in that sense.
"This is my last phase, so the emotions are different from what they would have been a few years ago.
"This is sport. Unfortunately, one person has to lose and lately a lot of the time it has been me.
"I was happy to be out there in front of a German crowd playing against a friend, an idol, a legend, the greatest ever. It's fantastic."
Federer hadn't played a tour-level match since beating Rafael Nadal to win the Miami Open on April 2.
He skipped the clay-court season to rest his body and avoid any potential injuries to his back and knees.
Federer will contest Halle next week before tackling Wimbledon from July 3.
Federer's 2017 season:
At grand slams and top-tier Masters 1000 events: Undefeated.
At smaller events: 1-2.
Against players inside the top 20: 11-0.
Against players ranked 100 or worse: 3-2.