Gstaad: Verdasco Sets Granollers Final
World number 20 Fernando Verdasco stunned the top seed Nicolas Almagro in a three-set epic the fourth favorite eventually won at the death, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, to set his first ever meeting with conational Marcel Granollers at the Swiss event.
Verdasco exchanged 23 aces with Almagro, 13 of which being hit by the winner who managed at the same time to break his opponent three times in six tries. He also finished the game with a 62 first serve percentage, eight double faults and a 32 return percentage, winning 67 percent of service points. On the other side, winner of three titles this term in Costa do Sauipe, Buenos Aires and Nice, Almagro came up with a 60 first serve percentage, including six double faults, a poor 33 percentage on return and winning 68 percentage of service points.
Despite that, he could only grab the opener which he won without breaking his opponent at all. The second set looked almost the same as the first one as neither the top seed, nor Verdasco was able to break his compatriot as the term went into a second breaker the latter one won at two. Finally, the decider saw both players break each other four times.
Almagro set though a much better pace in the last set, managing to build a three-game lead which helped him to stay in touch most of the time. He eventually managed to clash, going one win from his first season title. “We had very few chances to break each other in the first two sets because I think we were both playing well on serve,” said the winner.
“In the first set tie-break he played better, in the second set tie-break I played better. I started the third set with more confidence and he started missing more; that helped me to take the advantage,” he added. Verdasco’s next opponent Granollers has also provided a big surprise when he ousted third favorite Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the semi finals.
The eighth seed managed to create 15 break point opportunities, but only converted six of them. Granollers finished the game with a 65 first serve percentage, a 49 one on return and five aces, winning at the same time 64 percent of service points. On the other side, the Russian had a much better 81 first serve percentage, four breaks and a 36 return percentage, winning only 51 percent of service points.
Granollers’s great start brought him an early two-game lead he eventually converted into an easy opener, only to be leveled in the second one. Youzhny broke the Spaniard twice and saved all the three chances form the opposite side, evening the situation in just over half an hour. Finally, the decider provided yet another turnover as Granollers powered through to a more consistent lead build thanks to three precious breaks.
He will meet Verdasco for the first time, but the world number 45 will start tomorrow’s clash as second favorite in front of the five-title. Granollers, by contrast, will be chasing his second career singles title. Verdasco had previously ousted Julien Benneteau 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 in the quarters and Frederico Gil of Portugal 6-3, 6-2 in the second term. On the other side, en route to the final, Granolers had ousted second favorite Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-2 in the quarter finals, Igor Andreev 6-1, 6-3 in the second term and Stephane Bohli 6-1, 6-0 in the opening day.
Gstaad Prize Money and points:
Winner – 72,600 euro and 250 points ATP
Runner-up – 38,200 euro and 150 points ATP
Semi finalist – 20,700 euro and 90 points ATP
Quarter finalist – 11,800 euro and 45 points ATP
R16 – 6,940 euro and 20 points ATP
R32 – 4,120 euro and zero points11