Paris: Tommy Haas of Germany became the first 35-year-old since 2007 to reach the French Open’s third round, beating 20-year-old American qualifier Jack Sock 7-6 (3), 6-2, 7-5 Friday.
Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden also was 35 when he made it to the fourth round at Roland Garros six years ago.
Haas is currently the oldest player in the top 100. He will next face another American, 19th-seeded John Isner.
“Doesn’t seem like he’s 35,” Sock said. “He moves well, he’s in great shape, hits the ball well. If you’re a random spectator watching the match, you would not guess that he’s 35.”
Sock double-faulted to get broken in the next-to-last game of Friday’s match.
The 12th-seeded Haas, the oldest man left in the draw this year, has been a Grand Slam semi-finalist four times but never has been past the fourth round in 11 previous appearances at the French Open.
When a reporter noted that most professional tennis players have retired by 35, Haas smiled and said: “I don’t know what to do yet, I guess, besides playing tennis.”
“I enjoy it. I have had a lot of injuries, and I felt like the last thing I want to do is retire because of an injury,” he continued. “I’d like to do that on my own terms, if possible. I still have some goals out there that I want to achieve.”
Haas was sidelined from February 2010 to April 2011 because of hip and shoulder injuries. He won his 14th career title in May in Munich, Germany, on clay.