Gstaad (Switzerland) (AFP) - Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka confirmed on Friday that he is fit and ready for the final leg of the ATP season, starting with the Masters 1000 event in Canada.
Wawrinka, who reluctantly pleaded fatigue after Wimbledon, was to have played at this week's Swiss Open in Gstaad, which lost its top two seeds as Mikhail Youzhny and Marcel Granollers both exited in the quarter-finals.
Dutchman Robin Haase, seeded seventh, won a replay of the 2013 final as he put out Youzhny 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, while Pablo Andujar won an all-Spanish contest with a defeat of number two Granollers, 7-5, 6-3.
Haase came through on his seventh match point in just under two hours.
"I beat him this year so I knew I could do it," said Haase, ranked world 51. "Once I went a break down in the first set, I started playing better,
"In the second, my ball was 20 kph faster and a metre deeper. I was feeling good and serving better. In the third I couldn't do anything wrong until 5-2.
"I felt confident about the match but then I made some mistakes and got nervous. At 5-4, 4-0 you think it's done but then I had a double-fault. I got nervous but I closed it out in the end."
Haase will next face Juan Monaco after the Argentine defeated two-time champion Thomaz Bellucci 7-6 (7/1), 6-1.
Andujar takes on fourth seed Fernando Verdasco, a winner over Serb Viktor Troicki, 6-4, 6-7 (7/9), 6-1.
Australian Open winner Wawrinka, beaten by Roger Federer in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, recovered from illness just prior to the Wimbledon start and due to weather scheduling had to play three days in succession during the second half of the tournament.
But the rested, relaxed 29-year-old, who paid a day visit to sunny Gstaad on Friday said that he is keen for a return to competition.
In addition to the back-to back Masters tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati and then the US Open, Switzerland face Italy in the Davis Cup semi-finals in Geneva in September with Federer and Wawrinka both committed.
"I need to be ready for the last few months of the season," said Wawrinka. "It's a long series and it will be tough for sure. It will be another big challenge."
He added: "I'm trying to be fit and to do everything possible not to be injured.
"I've had some rest and that's important. I also did some work with my fitness trainer but not a lot on court just yet. I started tennis only a few days ago. I'll leave next week for Toronto."
After constructing the season of his life from January to July, the Swiss admits matching his previous performance will be difficult, if not impossible.
"It will be tough to do better than that for me, but we'll see. I'm taking it step-by-step in each tournament. I want to be ready for event by event.
"If my level is there, I can have some good results."
- Sports & Recreation
- Robin Haase
- Mikhail Youzhny