Tennis: Muller ends Troicki hat-trick bid, to meet Evans in final
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 a tiebreaker.
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. Continued...