|Tommy Haas raises the trophy after defeating Nicolas Kiefer, 7-6, 6-4, in the final of the Mercedes-Benz Cup© Ronald Martinez/Getty Images|
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Tommy Haas proved to be the better German. In a final befitting a tournament sponsored by a German automobile company, Haas beat compatriot Nicolas Kiefer, 7-6 (6), 6-4, to win the $380,000 Mercedes-Benz Cup hardcourt event on Sunday.
The last all-German final occurred in 1994 when Markus Zoecke defeated Hendrik Dreekman in Sun City, South Africa, 6-4, 6-1.
Ironically, the clay-court Mercedes Cup final earlier in the day in Stuttgart was contested by two Argentines, with Guillermo Canas edging French Open champion Gaston Gaudio in five sets.
In this one, Haas survived two set points in the opening set before winning the tiebreak, then broke Kiefer in the third game of the second set. Haas held serve thereafter, winning the final game at love with a backhand winner.
It was the second title of the year for Haas, who bested Andy Roddick for the U.S. Clay Court Championship in Houston May. Haas missed all of last year due to shoulder problems that twice required surgery.
Kiefer converted just 1-of-6 break points, going 0-for-5 in the final set, while Haas was successful on 2-of-6 break opportunities.
Haas, who secured his seventh career title in 16 finals, won $52,000 and Kiefer claimed $30,600.
Kiefer, who had won two of the first three meetings with his German Olympic teammate, slipped to 0-3 in finals this year - all in the U.S. He also lost at Scottsdale and Memphis. Kiefer is 6-9 in career finals, with his last title coming in Hong Kong in 2000.
It was just the second time in the Open Era that the final here featured two unseeded players. In 1973, Jimmy Connors beat Tom Okker, 7-5, 7-6.