Within a couple of weeks in 2009, Tommy Haas took down Novak Djokovic twice on grass. After scoring a win over world no. 4 in the Halle final, the German best the Serb in the Wimbledon quarter-final, scoring a 7-5, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 triumph in two hours and 45 minutes to set the semi-final clash against Roger Federer.
Novak grabbed two breaks from as many chances and was not pleased with his return, calling it a disaster. On the other hand, the more experienced player caught three breaks from five opportunities, prevailing in the closing stages of the opening two sets and sealing the deal in the fourth to reach the last four and celebrate a notable victory.
Both players were off to a great start in their service games, and the first break of serve came at 5-5 when Haas moved in front and closed the opener with a smash winner in the 12th game. Returning at 5-5 in set number two, the German fired a backhand down the line that caused the Serb's mistake, securing a break but losing the advantage in the next game and allowing Novak to force a tie break.
The younger player forged a 6-3 lead before suddenly losing ground and allowing Haas to rattle off five straight points and steal the breaker 8-6 following a volley winner at the net. Eager to fight, Djokovic earned a break at 3-3 in set number three with a running forehand winner and held at 5-4 with booming serves to reduce the overall deficit.
The German held at 15 in the fourth set's third game and forced the Serb's mistake in the next one with a powerful backhand to open a crucial 3-1 lead. Haas brought the fifth game home from 0-30 and landed an ace at 4-2 for a hold at love and a massive step forward.
Djokovic clinched the eighth game with a volley winner before Haas painted a service winner a few minutes later to seal the deal and advance to his first Major semi-final since the Australian Open 2007.
Novak Djokovic lost to Tommy Haas in four sets at Wimbledon 2009.
"I'm disappointed about the loss.
I played well in the previous rounds, and that was not the case today. I did a good job in my service games, but I was too nervous in the crucial moments when I had to step in. Tommy took his chances and played better than me, so I have to give him credit.
I had to raise my level on the return and force him to play a couple of extra shots. I failed to do that, and he deserved to beat me. I could not relax at 5-5 in the opening two sets, playing defensive tennis and spraying some errors.
Those crucial moments in sets one and two decided the winner. I could have won the second set, but I sprayed some unexpected errors. I was motivated to go far at this event, but I have to settle with the quarter-final, even I know I can do better.
I knew Tommy would be this aggressive; I tried to stay in touch with him and wait for my chances. It was not easy to return his serve, both the first and second, as he was very consistent. My return turned into a disaster today, and that's one of my greatest weapons. On this surface, Tommy is a perfect player; he hits the ball hard and takes his shots," Novak Djokovic said.