Los Angeles: Former world number two Tommy Haas paid tribute to Sam Querrey after the German was eliminated by the big-serving American in the LA Open semi-finals on Saturday.
Top seed Haas, tournament champion in 2004 and 2006, was upset 6-3, 7-5 by the sixth seeded Californian under the floodlights on the LA Tennis Center`s stadium court.
"He`s definitely improved," the 31-year-old German said after losing to Querrey for the second time in five encounters.
"I played him the first couple of times when he was younger and going for much more and not really being smart about his shots.”
"Now he selects his shots. I feel like his serve is really a weapon, even though I don`t think he served unbelievably tonight either.”
"The (evening) conditions make it tougher. Overall he serves really well and has a very big forehand and is starting to move better," he added of a player who has reached the final in his last three ATP appearances.
Haas came into this week`s hardcourt event with an impressive win-loss record of 14-3 since May, his only defeats coming against Roger Federer (twice) and Andy Roddick.
Against Querrey, however, he failed to capitalise on the few chances which came his way, especially in the eighth game of the second set when he squandered two break points.
"I had a couple of break points and first he served an ace, which is what makes him very dangerous," Haas said of Querrey`s initial save.
A superb forehand winner down the line earned the German his second break point but he failed to convert when he hit a forehand long. He immediately hurled his racket to the ground in disgust.
"I felt like I had to make a big forehand there and I missed it by a couple inches long," Haas said. "That really frustrated me.”
"Throughout the week, I wasn`t feeling the ball unbelievably well but I managed to get through the matches by trying to be in good position and by playing the right shots at the right time.”
"It was the same thing tonight. Every time I had a chance I made too many unforced errors by not really believing in the shots. When you have that and you`re not getting a lot of free points when you serve, it`s tough."