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Federer falls to Haas

Monday's match lasted more than three and a half hours Keystone

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer has been knocked out in the fourth round of the Australian Open after losing in an epic five sets to Germany's Tommy Haas.

This content was published on January 21, 2002 - 09:03

In an impressive match which saw both players competing at their best, the lead changed hands on several occasions.

After losing the opening set on a tie-break, the Swiss number one fought back to take a 2-1 lead. But Haas clung on to level the tie in the fourth set, prompting a tense decider between the two young players.

With the German world number nine serving to stay in contention at 6-5, Federer was presented with the first match point opportunity, but was unable to convert his chance.

That was to prove costly with Haas going on to break Federer's serve in the very next game, before successfully serving to complete a titanic 7-6, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 8-6 victory.

Gruelling encounter

The gruelling encounter, which lasted an incredible three hours and 35 minutes, seemed to take its toll on the 20-year-old Swiss who had won his three previous matches at this year's Open in straight sets.

Having won through the test of stamina, a similarly exhausted Haas was happy just to have made it to the quarter-finals, where he'll now meet former world number one Marcelo Rios.

"That takes a lot out of you, not only physically but also mentally," said a relieved Haas after coming off court. "To win after being match point down is fantastic. It was a great match to win."

And a heartbreaking one to lose. The narrow defeat was Federer's first on the ATP Tour this season, with the young Swiss star having come into the Grand Slam tournament off the back of victory in the Sydney Open.

The match also continued a close rivalry between Federer and Haas, currently the top two German-speaking players in the men's game. Monday's encounter was the third time the two had met on the tour, with both of their previous meetings being contested for similarly high stakes.

Having lost to the German at the semi-finals of the Sydney Olympics in September 2000, Federer gained revenge a month later while playing for local pride at the Swiss Indoors tournament in his home town of Basel.

Hingis last Swiss

Federer's latest defeat to Haas leaves Martina Hingis as Switzerland's last remaining representative at the Grand Slam event.

Having matched Federer's achievement at the Sydney Open by winning the women's final, the former women's world number one appears to be back at her best in Melbourne.

Looking to end her three-year wait for Grand Slam glory at the tournament where she has reached the last five finals, Hingis has sailed through her first four matches - dropping just nine games in eight sets.

The Swiss number one should have few difficulties in Tuesday's quarter-final action when she comes up against Italian world number 83 Adriana Serra Zanetti.

swissinfo with agencies

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