The best Portuguese player Joao Sousa had a mediocre season before Wimbledon, raising the level at the All England Club to reach the fourth round, followed by the quarter-final in Bastad last week. Sousa has gone even further in Gstaad, ousting the top seed Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and three minutes for the first triumph over the Spaniard since 2015 and the first semi-final since Chengdu in September.
The Portuguese got broken three times and worked hard on the return to erase that deficit, stealing the Spaniard's serve five times from six chances to cross the finish line first. The last year's finalist broke first in the sixth game, wasting game points and allowing Sousa to break back in the very next game after a forehand winner to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard.
Still, Bautista Agut grabbed another break in game ten to close the opener, hoping for more of the same in set number two. There, Sousa took charge and lost only eight points behind the initial shot, breaking Roberto at 2-2 after a double fault from the top seed and securing the set with another break in game nine.
Bautista Agut claimed an early break in the decider but it wasn't to be for him, losing the advantage after a break at love he suffered at 3-2 and allowing Joao to seal the deal with a crucial break in the 12th game that propelled him into the last four.
Facing each other for the first time since Gstaad 2015, the 7th seed Pablo Andujar defeated the 3rd seed Dusan Lajovic 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and six minutes for the second notable result of the season after Marrakech. Pablo made the difference with the first serve, fending off five out of six break points and delivering two breaks from ten opportunities to cross the finish line in straight sets after a grueling battle.
The opening set was a real marathon, lasting 80 minutes and offering 14 break chances, with a single break for each in the early stages and more chances in almost every game before the tie break that Andujar claimed 7-4 for a massive boost.
The Spaniard served great in set number two and grabbed a break at 3-3 after four game points that Dusan squandered. Serving for the triumph at 5-4, Andujar fired a perfect forehand down the line winner to move over the top and stay on the title course.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas is through to the second consecutive semi-final on the ATP level after Bastad, ousting the 6th seed Roberto Carballes Baena 6-2, 6-1 in an hour and 16 minutes after a great performance on both serve and return.
The more experienced Spaniard lost 16 points in eight service games, repelling all three break points and taking more than half of the return points, enough for four breaks from six opportunities. Ramos-Vinolas saved those three break points in the third game of the match, avoiding an early setback and takin the last four games from 2-2 with breaks in games six and eight.
The second set was even more one-sided and Albert secured breaks in games two and six, cementing the win with a hold at 15 at 5-1 to march into the last four.