Robin HAASE will take the confidence of a man who knows he has the game to test the best in the world into his second-round clash with Andy Murray at the US Open later today.
The Dutchman loves the big stage and he can draw on the experience of pushing the likes of Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt and Rafael Nadal at grand slams, leading the latter by two sets to one at Wimbledon last year before going down in five.
Haase said: “I’ve played Nadal, Hewitt, (Novak) Djokovic here, I’m used to the big courts. I’m looking forward to another one. Against Nadal I almost made it and now I hope I can do it.”
Of how he will approach the clash with Murray, who he beat in their only previous meeting in Rotterdam in 2008, the 24-year-old added: “If you look at my results, I can beat almost anyone. I’ll definitely have to keep my percentage of errors really low, because he’s not making any errors most of the time.
“I’ll have to be healthy and be there mentally for every point. And of course I need to serve well. I just need to play my best game and hit a lot of winners.”
Haase was something of a latecomer to the professional ranks after choosing to finish his schooling, but by the age of 20 he was already in the top 100 and looking destined for big things until serious knee problems ruled him out for 18 months. He did not return until the very end of 2009, when he was ranked outside the top 600, but he wasted little time in picking up where he left off and by the close of last year he had climbed back to 65th.
He has moved on again this year and is currently at a career-high ranking of 41 after winning his first ATP World Tour tournament on clay in Kitzbuhel last month.
The match is scheduled third on Flushing Meadows’ second court, Louis Armstrong Stadium, and should begin around 8pm BST.
Murray is once again the only British singles player left in a grand slam after Elena Baltacha suffered a creditable 6-4 6-3 defeat by former US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round yesterday.
Roger Federer, Caroline Wozniacki, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams cruised through to round three, the latter thrashing Michaella Krajicek 6-0 6-1 a day after sister Venus had revealed she is suffering from the auto-immune disease Sjogren’s Syndrome. Also in action on Friday are women’s third seed Maria Sharapova, who takes on Italy’s Flavia Pennetta, and defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal, up against marathon man Nicolas Mahut.