Revitalised Haas lifts home fans

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The Independent Online

Tommy Haas, the defending champion, advanced to the second round of the BMW Open in Munich yesterday. Haas, the most popular player in Germany since Boris Becker's retirement, won before 1,500 cheering spectators when his fellow German David Prinosil dropped out with a shoulder injury while trailing 6-1, 4-2.

Haas, who broke into the top 10 last year, has fallen back to No 40 under the new computer ratings after suffering a hip injury. But last week he reached the quarter-finals at Monte Carlo before losing to Carlos Moya of Spain.

"I'm headed back up. I feel better and don't have any problems with my hips anymore," said Haas, the No 3 seed. "Idefinitely can win here."

The Argentinian Gaston Eltis beat Goran Ivanisevic 7-5, 6-1, making the Croatian the tournament's first big-name casualty. The second seed, Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco, also won, beating the French qualifier Arnaud Di Pasquale, 7-5, 6-4.

"I'm very happy to win in two sets," said El Aynaoui. "He's had three matches to get used to the balls and the conditions, so I knew it would be tough."

Fresh from his Barcelona Open victory on Sunday, the Russian Marat Safin continued his successful run, winning his first-round match against the Romanian Adrian Voinea at the Mallorca Open yesterday. Safin, seeded fourth, defeated Voinea 6-4, 7-6, having been knocked out of the same tournament in the first round last year.

In other play yesterday, the Mallorca-born Carlos Moya eased past Marc-Kevin Goellner 6-3, 6-4, ending the German's five-match winning streak against him which goes back to 1996.

The Argentinian Juan Ignacio Chela had to go to three sets to defeat Magnus Gustafsson, of Sweden, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. Gustafsson's compatriot Mikael Tillstrom fared better, however, beating the Spaniard Francisco Clavet6-4, 6-3.

Serena Williams, the US Open champion, has pulled out of next week's German Open in Berlin. Williams, the world No 6, is still suffering from aninjury to her left knee.

"Obviously, we're disappointed, but we hope that her sister, Venus, or Mary Pierce will now come and play here," said the tournament director, Eberhard Wensky.

Venus Williams, the world No 3, who has not played this year because of tendinitis in her wrists, has entered this week's Hamburg Cup. She plays her first match there today.

Martina Navratilova has brought her comeback forward and will now partner the South African Mariaan de Swardt at the Madrid Open, starting on 22 May, before the pair play in the French Open. The American, now 43, has not played professionally for five-and-a-half years, but last week announced that she will compete in the doubles with De Swardt at Wimbledon.

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