In a battle of big boomers at The Racquet Club, German player Tommy Haas, who seems to own this venue, overpowered native-born Andy Roddick, making short work of him in a 6-3, 6-2 match Sunday to win the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships.
Asked afterward if his victory, the second Memphis win in a row for Haas and his third overall, was due to the fact that he played a lot of indoors tennis growing up in Germany, the champion was magnanimous -- congratulating Roddick for his effort and attributing his prowess instead to the "energy" he picked up from Memphis and its fans.
That was doubly gracious, in that most of the crowd most of the time was audibly behind Roddick, whose effort to reach the top of the pack in the tennis world has been decisively foiled in recent years by the formidable Swiss player Roger Federer,
Haas, also, would seem to have Roddick's number. In a match that was mainly played from the baselines, the difference between the two on Sunday was mainly one of accuracy Both players had rocket serves (Hass' was clocked at 138 miles per hour!), but Roddick's went awry far more often, leaving him at the mercy of Haas' less than tender treatment of his softer second serves.
Roddick was visibly upset with his mis-hits, frequently slamming his racket down against the court surface in disgust. That he caught it on rebound only half the time was another measure of his off day. When it came his time to speak afterward, Roddick credited Haas' super consistency (throughout the tournament, the German never suffered a break point) and said it was difficult to be as eloquent as he'd like -- having just had his "butt kicked" so badly.
He need not have worried; the crowd clearly appreciated both players. In the continued absence of Federer (who has never played in the tournament), their match-up was as good as any available, and it was a nice follow-up to the comeback victory on Saturday night by the incomparable Venus Williams, who routed Shahar Peer of Israel decisively, 6-1, 6-1, in the women's Cellular Cup final.
Williams' victory was a good sign that her injured wrist, which had sidelined the superstar for some time, had undergone enough healing for her to play competitively again at the highest levels.