Aus Open: Gonzalez beats Haas to enter finals

Fernando Gonzalez put on another brilliant display of tennis on Friday, beating Germany's Tommy Haas 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the Australian Open final.

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Melbourne:Tenth-seeded Fernando Gonzalez put on another brilliant display of tennis on Friday, beating Germany's Tommy Haas 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the Australian Open final. It was a performance reminiscent of top-ranked Roger Federer's rout of Andy Roddick in the other semifinal a night earlier. Gonzalez was nearly flawless, leaving the capacity crowd gasping and the 12th-seeded Haas stunned and frustrated. "It was a really good day for me. I have been playing great tennis. I am enjoying it a lot," said Gonzalez. Gonzalez had zero unforced errors in the first and third sets and only three for the match to go along with 42 winners that accounted for more than half of his 82 points. For Haas, it was overwhelming. "I played actually pretty good tennis. Every time I tried to do something differently, he came up with the answer." "That's quite frustrating after a period of time. I just have to hand it to him, tip the hat, say that's too good tonight. Nothing I could have done," said Haas. Gonzalez, who had never reached a Grand Slam semifinal before, will face Federer on Sunday evening in the championship match. "Roger is No 1 one by far," Gonzalez said. "But there is only one match left. I have lost many times to him, but I know that I am playing much better than the last time that we played," he added. Music from a nearby concert drifted into packed Rod Laver Arena on a brisk Australia Day evening Friday. Fireworks followed the match, but Gonzalez provided plenty before then. Dominant performance Once known for a weak backhand and a fragile psyche, Gonzalez has improved both significantly in recent months and has won over thousands of fans here with his powerful serve and forehand. He was excited about the match statistics. "I have been playing many years with 45 unforced errors and three winners!" he said. The Chilean ran off 11 points to start the first set, and Haas ended up with only 12 points in the seven games. Gonzalez slipped only slightly in the second set with 12 winners and three unforced errors as Haas, his confidence shattered, spiked his racket once and came close to slamming it into the court on two other occasions. Haas tried to pick on Gonzalez's backhand, but the Chilean just kept getting back slice after slice until he got a chance to wind up on a forehand and send zingers into the corners. A group of vocal German fans included five young men with "Tommy Haas" spelled out on their bare chests and "Bye Bye Gonzalez" on their backs, cheered for Haas between points, but their support went for naught. Gonzalez, who never faced a break point, finished it off with a backhand crosscourt winner for his seventh service break to end it in 1 hour, 31 minutes - eight minutes longer than Federer's win over Roddick. "I'm obviously trying to think what I could have done differently after the match like this. It's really hard," said Haas, who added that Gonzalez made him understand how Roddick felt. "Pretty much everything he touched tonight seemed to go his way. He's playing some good tennis, that's for sure."

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  • Nicolas Almagro
  • Tommy Haas
  • David Ferrer
  • Fernando Gonzalez
  • Tennis

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