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Troicki edges Dimitrov in Sydney thriller

Troicki edges Dimitrov in Sydney thriller

SYDNEY: Viktor Troicki will go into the Australian Open with his confidence sky high after retaining his title at the Sydney International with a thrilling 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7) victory over Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday.

The tough 29-year-old Serbian, who won the title as a qualifier last year, looked dead and buried after Dimitrov coasted through the first set but evened up the contest when the talented Bulgarian suffered a second-set meltdown on Ken Rosewall Arena.

Each player saved match points in the tiebreaker — the conclusion to an 82-minute third set — before Troicki fell to his back when his angled crosscourt winner left Dimitrov flat-footed at the net.




It was Troicki’s third career final and comes 12 months after he beat Mikhail Kukushkin in the same final. Troicki joins former world No 1s Lleyton Hewitt and Pete Sampras as back-to-back Sydney International winners.

“This was my eighth final and I never had it this close, this tight, “Troicki said. “I got to say it was tough to play it, but I managed to keep calm in most important points. It’s great to win again, second year in a row. I love this tournament.”

The 22nd-seeded Troicki heads to Melbourne where he faces Spaniard Daniel Munoz de la Nava in the opening round of the Australian Open, while Dimitrov faces Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi.

CORNET HAMMERS BOUCHARD TO TAKE HOBART TITLE

HOBART: France’s Alize Cornet ended Eugenie Bouchard’s strong run at the Hobart International with a 6-1, 6-2 win over the Canadian in the final to claim her fifth career title on Saturday.

Cornet dominated the contest on a blustery day in Tasmania, winning the first set at a canter after an early exchange of breaks and rattling off six straight games in the second for her first title since April 2014.

It was Bouchard’s best performance since a lengthy layoff due to a concussion she sustained in a dressing room fall at last year’s US Open.

On Saturday, she had some difficulty in the breezy conditions, serving five double faults.

“It was a tough one for me ... I just wasn’t on top of my game,” Bouchard said.

Both players will now make the short journey across the Bass Strait to Melbourne for the Australian Open, where Bouchard will face Serbian Aleksandra Krunic in the opening round.

Cornet will play Bojana Jovanovski, another Serbian, in the first round with world number two Simona Halep potentially lying in wait in the second.

“It is a tough draw but anything is possible in tennis if you believe in yourself,” the 25-year-old said.

BAUTISTA AGUT WINS ASB CLASSIC AS ILL SOCK RETIRES

AUCKLAND: Roberto Bautista Agut won the Auckland Classic for his third ATP title on Saturday after Jack Sock retired ill while trailing 6-1, 1-0 in the final of the Australian Open warm-up tournament.

Sock said after his 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 semi-final win over top-seed and four-time champion David Ferrer that he came close to withdrawing from that match after waking Friday with “flu-like symptoms”.

The 23-year-old American’s illness had fully taken hold by the time of the final in hot conditions at the Auckland Tennis Centre and he lasted only 28 minutes before being forced to retire.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t finish the match, but I wanted to come out and at least attempt, like yesterday you never know what might happen,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2016

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