By Florian Heer
(July 25, 2014) GSTAAD – Welcome to Gstaad – a town, which is considered by many people as the real Switzerland. Its local population is equal parts people and cows. Indeed, Gstaad’s direct vicinity has around 7,500 permanent residents alongside around 7,500 cows. Despite becoming an increasingly popular winter and summer tourism destination, farming is a major part of Gstaad’s identity and once a year, the ATP World Tour is making a stop amidst the impressive scenery of the Bernese Oberland for an event of the 250 category with total prize money of € 488.760,-.
The two top seeds of the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open, Mikhail Youzhny and Marcel Granollers, led the way on quarterfinal’s day 5. The Russian took on Robin Haase in a repeat of the 2013 Gstaad final, when Youzhny ran out a winner in straight sets. The world No. 19 from Moscow also had the better start today but the Dutch, who gained his first victory over the Russian in the last meeting between the two in Bucharest this year, stabilized his game and fought back winning 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 56 minutes, although it became really close in the end.
“Until 5-2 in the third set, I felt good,” said Haase. “But two net cord winners and one unbelievable backhand smash from Mikhail changed things. At 5-4 and a 40-0 lead, you think it is done. I double faulted and lost my rhythm but I knew I could beat him. Compared to last year’s match, it was very good.”
Marcel Granollers took on compatriot Pablo Andújar for the fourth time with the latter leading 2-1 in head to head before Friday’s meeting. After a close opening set, Andújar was in control of the encounter in the following. Through a solid baseline game and good returns the 28-year-old from Cuenca closed the match out in 75 minutes winning 7-5, 6-3.
In an all-South-American-affair Argentine Juan Mónaco faced Tomaz Bellucci. The Brazilian was making his fifth appearance in Gstaad and lifted two of his three career titles in Switzerland winning in 2012 and as a qualifier in 2009 but today Mónaco emerged victorious winning 7-6, 6-1 in 90 minutes to reach his first semi-final of the season.
In the final match of the day Viktor Troicki, who has returned to competitive action this week for the first time in 12 months after he had failed to submit a sample during Monte Carlo event in April 2013, which resulted in a suspension due to anti-doping violation, took on Fernando Verdasco. Earlier the day, the Spaniard had to complete his yesterday suspended second round match through a three set victory over Jan-Lennard Struff. In the evening encounter, it was the Spaniard’s forehand, which made the difference against Troicki. The 28-year-old Serbian, who dropped down to 847th position in the ATP rankings, felt obviously uncomfortable with the leftie’s game. Verdasco took advantage serving the match out in two hours and four minutes winning 6-4, 6-7, 6-1.
“This morning against Jan-Lennard, I just tried to win and finish the match in a good way because he served really well and I only had few chances to break,” the 30-year-old from Madrid said after his second victory of the day.
“This afternoon I felt the ball better and I played a really good first set, almost my best level. Unfortunately I made a couple of mistakes in the second set. Then I had a 4-1 lead in the tie-break and I became very upset after losing the set. It was mentally pretty hard for me. So I went to the toilet and I started screaming all the time, which helps when you are in a stressful moment. After ten or fifteen big screams, I started from zero and I was calm again and played the level of the first set,” Verdasco explained the ups and down in his match. “With the altitude here it is not easy to play from the baseline because you have to hit the ball in a perfect way otherwise it will be a miss. Viktor, however, served really well today. I have a good relationship with him outside the courts, so I’m happy that he is back,” the Spaniard said about Troicki’s return to the tour.
Earlier the day world No. 4, Stanislas Wawrinka, who represents the tournament’s ambassador, talked to the press. The 29-year-old from Lausanne should actually be Gstaad’s top-seed but after losing to Roger Federer in the quarterfinal of Wimbledon, he decided to take some time for recovery. “I took three weeks off, practiced and did some work with my fitness coach to become ready for the last four months of the year, which will be a tough one and a big challenge with the US-Open and the Davis Cup,” Wawrinka said. “It will be difficult to be better in in the second half of the season compared to the first but if I hold my level, I will achieve some good results,” the current Australian Open champion said and added that he will leave for Toronto in a few days.
Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit. He is in Gstaad this week. Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.
Singles – Quarterfinals
 R Haase (NED) d  M Youzhny (RUS) 36 61 64
P Andujar (ESP) d  M Granollers (ESP) 75 63
 F Verdasco (ESP) d [WC] V Troicki (SRB) 64 67(7) 61
J Monaco (ARG) d T Bellucci (BRA) 76(1) 61
Singles – Second Round
 F Verdasco (ESP) d J Struff (GER) 36 63 76(3)
Doubles – Quarter-finals
 A Begemann (GER) / R Haase (NED) d P Marx (GER) / B Rola (SLO) 61 64
R Junaid (AUS) / M Mertinak (SVK) d  J Brunstrom (SWE) / N Monroe (USA) 76(5) 36 14-12
SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 26 JULY 2014
CENTRE COURT start 11:30 am
 R Haase (NED) vs J Monaco (ARG)
Not Before 3:00 pm
 F Verdasco (ESP) vs P Andujar (ESP)
After Suitable Rest – R Junaid (AUS) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs P Andujar (ESP) / J Monaco (ARG)
COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
After Suitable Rest – F Bagnis (ARG) / F Delbonis (ARG) vs  A Begemann (GER) / R Haase (NED)