Matteo Berrettini and Dominic Thiem set up a semi-final showdown of former Gstaad champions as both battled past Latin opponents in the Alps on Friday.

2021 Wimbledon finalist Berrettini, forced to skip the grass-court Grand Slam last month after a positive COVID test, had to work the kinks out of his game as he played only the second match of his comeback.

The15th-ranked Italian who won the event here in 2018 woke up as he trailed a set and 5-2 in the tiebreak, working his way past Spaniard Pedro Martinez 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1.

Thiem defeated Peru’s Juan Pablo Varillas 6-4, 6-3.

Thiem, a former No. 3, broke fresh ground in his injury comeback as he reached his first semi-final since May, 2021, in Madrid. The Austrian won the 2015 Gstaad edition iand is back on the high-altitude Swiss clay for the first time since then,

Berrettini admitted he was ring-rusty in his narrow escape against Martinez.

 “I was close to going home, but that is tennis,” he said after two and a quarter hours on court.

“At 5-3 in the tiebreaks I had a couple of good points, I played a couple of good points ( as he came from 2-5 down to win the breaker and level at a set apiece).

“I had a complete momentum shift.. I’m happy to be through. I was distracted and struggling.

“We’re humans – not robots.

“I found my best tennis, hopefully I’ll play a better match tomorrow.”

Berrettini has won three of his five matches with Thiem, the last in February, 2021, at the ATP Cup in Melbourne,

Thiem is looking for his first trophy since winning the US Open in September 2020.

“I played a good match yesterday and I was able to back it up today.” he said.

“Some things I didn’t like that much. I failed to serve out at (leading 5-2), but it was also the nerves.

“This is my first semi-final in one and a half years. I need the points to go back up the rankings. I was happy I was able to break the nerves.”

Thiem’s progress stalled in June of last season when he injured a wrist on grass in Spain and came down with a case of COVID as he finally began his return to the Tour.

The 28-year-old ranked 274th advanced past his opponent from qualifying in one and three-quarter hours in the first-time meeting.