Haas loses shirt but wins match

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- His arm aching, his body cramping, his shirt confiscated by the U.S. Tennis Association, Tommy Haas still prevailed in a five-set marathon against David Sanchez at the U.S. Open.

The 3-hour, 23-minute battle of attrition -- with both players massaged for cramps during changeovers -- ended with Haas winning 7-6 (1), 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 on Wednesday to reach the second round. The third-seeded German had 67 unforced errors and double faulted three times before putting Sanchez away.

"I got a little bit nervous," Haas said. "I couldn't push off that much. The first double fault, you start to think. Then double faulting three times. How many times does that really happen?

"My legs just wouldn't push off anymore," he added. "I was lucky to get through that game."


Haas has been struggling with tendinitis in his right shoulder and forearm, and the dispute regarding his shirt at the start of the match couldn't have helped his frame of mind. Officials asked him to change from a sleeveless shirt that showed off his shoulders to more traditional tennis attire.

"Sleeveless shirts for men are not considered customary men's tennis attire," the USTA said in a statement.

Third-seeded Lindsay Davenport beat Petra Mandula 6-4 in the first set that was interrupted for 40 minutes by rain. They were 2-2 in the second before the rain forced them off the court again, suspending the match. Play was called after a wait of 2 hours, 27 minutes, and the entire night session was postponel.

Davenport and Mandula will resume their match in the second set Thursday, and the rained-out match between No. 25 James Blake's and Nikolay Davydenko will also be played Thursday.

Earlier, two former champions advanced comfortably. Four-time winner Pete Sampras, seeded an uncharacteristic No. 17, defeated Albert Portas 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, and top-seeded Serena Williams, the 1999 champion, routed Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-1.

Sampras, with a record 13 Grand Slam titles, is still stuck in a tournament winless streak that now stretches 25 months. He hopes to break that at the Open, where he was runner-up to Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt the last two years.

Williams, winner of the last two Slams, the French Open and Wimbledon, wore the same skintight black outfit that caused a stir on opening night. She was surprised to hear about Haas' shirt squabble.

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