Muller ends Troicki hat-trick bid, to meet Evans in final
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[January 13, 2017]
By Nick Mulvenney
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Gilles Muller rode
his big serve to a 6-3 7-6(6) victory over Viktor Troicki in the
semi-finals of the Sydney International on Friday to end the Serb's
hopes of an unprecedented third straight title.
The 33-year-old lefthander from Luxembourg will meet Briton Dan
Evans, who later beat Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3 3-6 6-3, in the final on
Saturday with both players looking for their maiden ATP Tour titles.
Muller, who had reached the last four for a third year in a row,
started well despite the afternoon heat and wrapped up the opening
set in half an hour with an uncompromising forehand smash.
Troicki stepped up his game and the second set was a much tighter
affair but Muller saved the two break points he faced to take it to
The Serb saved the first match point when Muller netted a return but
the world number 34 would not be denied on his second, firing his
16th ace to reach the final.
"When I came here I wasn't expecting very much because I didn't play
very well in Brisbane, I wasn't feeling great," said the sixth seed,
who has been suffering from a virus.
"I was expecting to have one or two more matches before the Aussie
Open and I'm in the final so it's a great feeling."
British world number 67 Evans stunned top seed and world number
eight Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals and made the most of
Kuznetsov's misfiring first serve to win the first set interrupted
briefly by rain.
[to top of second column]
Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in action against Gael Monfils of France
on day one of the 2016 U.S. Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters
got his serve functioning to even up the match in the second but it
faltered again in the third and Evans grabbed a key break for 3-1
before serving out the match to love after another rain break to
reach his first main tour final.
"I'm excited, I'm happy with how I played, to come back in the third
set and get the job done," said 26-year-old.
Evans's victory in the final match of evening made it a good day for
Britain in Sydney with Johanna Konta taking the women's title and
Jamie Murray reaching the men's doubles final with his Brazilian
partner Bruno Soares.
(Editing by John O'Brien and Sudipto Ganguly)
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