August 8, 2012
Old-timers Haas, Stepanek feel young again at Rogers Cup
By DAVE POLLARD, QMI Agency
TORONTO - A couple of old dogs had their day at the Rogers Cup.
One of the young pups did, too.
German Tommy Haas, a former world No. 2 who's trying to return to the top 20 after starting the year ranked 205, and unseeded Czech Radek Stepanek both pulled off upset wins Wednesday at the Rexall Centre to move into the third round.
The 34-year-old Haas, the elder statesman here, downed ninth seed Gilles Simon of France 6-2, 6-2 while Stepanek, who at 33 is the second oldest player in the singles draw, shocked sixth-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, the Olympic bronze medallist, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
Interestingly, the two old-timers will meet Thursday, guaranteeing a 30-something will be playing in the quarterfinals.
Haas, who came into this tournament ranked 25th, has turned back the clock in beating David Nalbandian, six years ago ranked third in the world, and then Simon.
"You could say I'm in my early 30s, not mid-30s," Haas said. "I've had some injuries ... some of them were quite severe (and) I probably missed three, if not three and a half years, in my career. Yeah, I won't lie, in some ways (this year) has been very surprising but at the same time it's a feeling of satisfaction.
"All of us that are playing on the tour, you know, we're living the dream of being professional tennis players and that's pretty cool as well."
Of course, it also bears mentioning that young Novak Djokovic, looking surprisingly fresh considering his success at the Olympics last week, made short work of Aussie teenager Bernard Tomic under the Centre Court lights, winning 6-2, 6-3 in just 71 minutes. He'll play American Sam Querrey in the third round.
"I'm feeling good," Djokovic said. "For the first match it was a decent performance. I was struggling to find the rhythm, obviously. When I needed to play well, I was able to do that."
Three other seeded players also fell Wednesday.
The big one was third-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who was turfed unceremoniously 6-4, 7-6 (4) by fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. Kei Nishikori (13) of Japan and Florian Mayer (15) of Germany were also eliminated.