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Updated: October 13, 2009 16:42 IST

Haas tames Becker, enters round 2

DPA
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Germany's Tommy Haas is through to the second round of the Shanghai masters after beating compatriot Benjamin Becker in straight sets. File Photo: AP
AP Germany's Tommy Haas is through to the second round of the Shanghai masters after beating compatriot Benjamin Becker in straight sets. File Photo: AP

Tommy Haas played an Asian match for the first time in more than two years, defeating compatriot Benjamin Becker 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 on Tuesday to advance into the second round of the Shanghai Masters.

The 18{+t}{+h}-ranked German, competing for the first time since exiting the US Open in the third round to Fernando Verdasco, was out-aced by Becker 13 to 11 but saved the only break point he faced in a tight contest.

Haas last played in the region in Bangkok in September, 2007.

The Florida-based German will next line up against another familiar face at the Qi Zhong complex when he plays Rainer Schuettler.

French Open finalist Robin Soderling, the ninth-seeded Swede, advanced over Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-3, 6-4 while Lleyton Hewitt also made a delayed return to China’s surging commercial capital.

Hewitt, who defeated American John Isner 6-2, 6-4, last played in the city in 2002, when he stood number one and claimed the title at the year-end Masters Cup.

The 23rd-ranked Australian who had dropped out of the Top 100 early in the season as he recovered from a hip surgery, is devoting all of his energies to his Australian Open appearance in January.

“This time of year obviously I’ve got no points to defend. And in January I’ve basically got hardly any points to defend, as well.

“I’ve gotten better as the year has gone on. My hip’s got a lot stronger and better as well, and that makes life a lot easier on the court.” Hewitt did well in muting the big serve of Isner, second-tallest man in the game at 2.05 metres behind Croatian Ivo Karlovic.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match. I knew I was going to have to try and get a lot of balls back,” said the Australian.

“The biggest difference between him and Karlovic’s serve is just the bounce.

“It takes you a few games to get into it and just get a read on that serve,” he said after keeping Isner to just five aces.

Other first-round winners included Croatian veteran Ivan Ljubicic, who put out Julien Benneteau of France 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 and Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, a winner over Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7 (2-7), 6-1, 7-6 (8-6).

In the second round, Russian sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko beat compatriot Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 6-2.

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