Haas Breaks Through the Pain Barrier for Win at Indy
by Bill Scott
INDIANAPOLIS -- Third seed Tommy Haas is playing in pain at the RCA Championships. And with the last Grand Slam of the season starting in a week and a half, that's not a particularly pleasant sensation for the 24-year-old German.
"It's going to the elbow and it's not feeling great," said the third seed, not only worrying about his own fitness but about the recovery of his parents after a serious motorcycle crash last June in Florida.
Haas missed Wimbledon to spend time with them as they both lay in hospital after colliding with a car which aboard their son's Harley-Davidson. They are now being treated in Gemany.
"I thought the time off would help, I was supposed to relax for two weeks," the German said of his time spent at his Florida home. "But it's tough for me to stay away from the court.
But even after his minimal rest, the shoulder troubles remain a worry.
"I maybe didn't rest as much as I could. I've got to get another MRI (computer scan) on the shoulder. It's will be my fourth in the last few weeks," he complained. "I'm sick and tired of them. There's no tear, but there is some fluid in the tendon. I'm trying to work through this."
He added: "Some days good, some are bad. This is starting to be a pain. I need a break and I also need the matches. I want to prepare as well as I can for the U.S. Open."
Haas put in what he rated as a so-so effort Tuesday night as he beat recovering Swede Magnus Norman 7-6 (11-9), 6-3 in the second round. The seed next faces the winner between countryman David Prinosil and Swiss Michel Kratochvil, playing Wednesday.
But Tuesday's program was interrupted for a total of more than three hours by showers - and more are expected in the area.
That could make Wednesday's second-round schedule a bit tough, with four of the world's Top 5 on court for opening matches after byes.
Going into action will be No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt against Spain's Alberto Martin, second seed Marat Safin against Austrian Stefan Koubek, No. 4 Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov trying to reverse a run of bad form as he takes on Croation Mario Ancic and fifth-seeded Brit Tim Henman playing Nicolas Massu of Chile.
Frenchman Arnaud Clement picked up his first win since Wimbledon, snapping a dry streak on a wet Tuesday. The 15th seed waited out a two-hour rain delay, coming back after the second-set interruption to complete a 7-5, 6-4 victory into the second round.
The Geneva-based Clement has never duplicated his career-best big-match showing, when he played Andre Agassi in the 2001 Australian Open final.
The 24-year-old, who turned professional in 1996, still considered his victory in one hour, 32 minutes counts a major boost for his game after poor showings in recent weeks.
"I had to take two weeks off after Wimbledon and literally do nothing," he said after advancing. "I was so tired. Then I cam back and lost early in singles and doubles at the Masters Series tournaments (Toronto and Cincinnati).
"This win was just what I needed," said the player whose match rituals include changing his shirt and headband from one colour-coordinated look to another after each set and playing in all conditions wearing sunglasses.
Clement broke in two of the last three games to earn his second win against Bjorkman, a Top 5 player in 1997.