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Monaco mounts a comeback to reach Gstaad final

Argentina's Juan Monaco during the French tennis Open at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris on May 29, 2014

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Argentina's Juan Monaco during the French tennis Open at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris on May 29, 2014 (AFP Photo/Miguel Medina)

Gstaad (Switzerland) (AFP) - 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, setting up a showdown with Spain's Pablo Andujar.

Monaco, whose ranking has plummeted to 105 after a series of injuries going back to late 2013, recovered from breaks down in both sets to claim victory over Dutch seventh seed Haase, a losing finalist here a year ago to Mikhail Youzhny.

It will be a first-ever meeting for Monaco in the final against world number 71 Andujar, who profited from seven double-faults off the racquet of fourth seed Fernando Verdasco in a 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-1 upset.

Verdasco, treated for a shoulder problem after losing the opening set, broke in the second set as his opponent served for a straight-sets win.

Verdasco then stayed alive by claiming the second set in a tiebreak before collapsing in the third to exit as his serve was broken seven times.

Earlier, the 30-year-old Monaco 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."

The South American has been bothered by three different injuries this season -- his back, wrist and 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 2-0 down in the second set after trailing 3-0 in the first.

He was eventually able to overpower a frustrated Haase, who has won two claycourt 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."

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