Fish in final as Haas retires in Houston
HOUSTON, Apr 16 (Reuters) American wild card Mardy Fish advanced to the final of the US Clay Court Championships after fifth seed Tommy Haas was forced to retire from their semi-final with an injured wrist.
Trailing 4-1 in the opening set, German Haas walked over to the chair umpire during a changeover and said he could not continue because of a painful right wrist.
Haas, who disposed of three-time champion and top seed Andy Roddick in the quarter-finals, has recorded two wins already this season at Delray Beach and Memphis.
''At the beginning of the match against Andy (Roddick) I felt a little tightness in there,'' Haas, the 2004 U.S. Clay Court winner, told the ATP's Web site. ''But it totally went away, so I didn't think about it much.
''Then sure enough this morning, it was pretty tight again and didn't go away unfortunately throughout the day.
''I'm having trouble just holding the racquet. I'm a guy who holds it a little tighter than others sometimes.'' Fish, who took the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, will meet Jurgen Melzer in today's final, the Austrian advancing with a 6-3 6-4 win over seventh seeded American Paul Goldstein.
After semi-final losses on the Houston clay last year to Roddick and in 2003 to Andre Agassi, Melzer brushed past Goldstein in 70 minutes.
Despite the scoreline, it took a gritty effort from the Austrian to reach the final, falling behind 3-0 in the opening set then sweeping the next six games to go up 1-0.
Melzer again found himself in a 4-2 hole in the second before winning the next four games to clinch the match.
''I've been struggling this year,'' said Melzer, who had a record of 1-8 coming into the event. ''But it's better to start the year in April than to not start it at all.
''I'm very pleased with the way I played today down 3-0. I really started feeling the ball well.
''I knew if I play my game and don't miss too much, I have a really good chance to sneak through.'' It will be Melzer's third career final as he looks for his maiden career ATP title.
REUTERS DH RAI1252