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Haas withdraws, putting Federer into Wimbledon quarterfinals

7/1/2007 - Tennis

WIMBLEDON, England -- Roger Federer got a bye into
Wimbledon's quarterfinals when his fourth-round opponent,
Tommy Haas, withdrew from the tournament Sunday with a torn stomach
muscle.

The 13th-seeded Haas and four-time defending champion Federer
were scheduled to play in the fourth round Monday.

"To pull out of this match, against Roger on Centre Court --
which is why you play the game -- is obviously very disappointing,"
Haas said. "Can't even put it in words."

Now the top-ranked Federer will face 2003 French Open champion
Juan Carlos Ferrero or unseeded Janko Tipsarevic for a berth in the
semifinals.

Because Haas pulled out before the match, it goes into the books
as a walkover, and Federer will not get credit for a victory. So
the Swiss star's winning streak at Wimbledon stays at 31 matches,
and his record run on grass courts stays at 51.

Haas said he expects to be sidelined for up to a month with the
lower abdominal injury, which flared up during his 1-6, 6-4, 7-6
(5), 6-4 victory over No. 21 Dmitry Tursunov in the third round
Friday.

Haas called for the trainer during the second set, when he was
treated and given painkillers. The German said the pain felt much
worse Saturday and that tests showed the muscle was bleeding.

The match against Federer was to be the 29-year-old Haas' first
in the fourth round at the All England Club.

"Who knows if this opportunity comes again," Haas said. "I
certainly hope so."

He lost in the third round on four previous occasions, including
in 1998 after beating Andre Agassi on Centre Court in the second
round -- a victory that Haas noted on Sunday means he is undefeated
at Wimbledon's main arena.

Once ranked as high as No. 2, Haas has struggled with injuries,
including missing all of 2003 after two operations on his right
shoulder.

He was sidelined for 1½ months before coming to Wimbledon this
year after stopping because of a shoulder problem during his
opening match at the Rome Masters in May.