Argentine Juan Monaco claimed a place in his first final in almost a year on Saturday as he defeated Robin Haase 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) at the Swiss Open.
The ATP number 105, who has slipped out of the top 100 after a series of injuries going back to late 2013, recovered from breaks down in both sets to claim victory over the Dutch seventh seed, a losing finalist here a year ago to Mikhail Youzhny.
Monaco will play the winner from a pair of Spaniards as fourth seeded Fernando Verdasco faces Pablo Andujar.
The 30-year-old Argentine went through to his first final since Kitzbuehel 51 weeks ago after playing his first semi-final of 2014.
“At the start I didn't play well, he deserved his 3-0 lead. But I began playing better and got into the match,” Monaco said of a contest which began four hours late due to rain.
“We had no time to really warm up but it was the same for both. I got some rhythm and hit the ball harder than him. I was able to get into control.
“In the second set I had some opportunities that I didn't take, I was a bit nervous, I've not played a semi-final this season.
“But at the end I just relaxed and played my tennis,”
Monaco improved to 3-2 over Haas after losing the pair's last two meetings.
The South American has been bothered by three different injuries this season -- his back, a wrist and a foot.
His victory took his 2014 record to 13-14 and 5-1 at this alpine village whose clay stands 1,050m above sea level.
Monaco came from 2-1 down in the second set after trailing 2-0 in the first.
He was eventually able to overpower a frustrated Haase, who has won two clay trophies at altitude in Kitzbuehel, Austria.
Monaco carried the second set into a tie-breaker and advanced to the title match on the second of three match points after one and three-quarter hours.
“I'm glad to be playing again. I'm just trying to be happy on court,” said Monaco, who won with four breaks of serve.
“I'm happy now to reach the final and I'm looking forward to doing something good tomorrow.” – AFP