Troicki Triumphs Over Kukushkin In Sydney
The Serb collected $80,000 and 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points as he added to the title he won five years ago at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow (d. Baghdatis). Troicki now heads to Melbourne, where he will face Auckland champion Jiri Vesely in the first round of the Australian Open.
"There are a lot of emotions actually," said Troicki. "It's been a tough road, a lot of work, and it paid off with a nice title. If I look back to where I was five, six months ago, it's amazing to have a title already. So it's a really nice moment for me and for all my team. It's very emotional.
"I've got to say I have been working harder than ever probably, and I feel very, very fit," added the Serb. "I didn't have any problems. I had eight matches here and luckily I haven't had problems. I feel very fresh again. I feel I can go again good on Monday. Definitely I was working hard and that's paying off. I have inside myself trust in my body, and I feel I can do a lot of things."
Troicki improved to a 2-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead over Kukushkin as he dismissed the Kazakhstani’s challenge in 64 minutes. The right-hander fired 13 aces and won 73 per cent of his service points, breaking Kukushkin four times from five opportunities.
Troicki is the first qualifier to win the Sydney title since Jarkko Nieminen in 2012. The Belgrade native improved to a 2-4 mark in ATP World Tour finals and was contesting his first title match since a runner-up finish in Moscow in 2011 (l. to Tipsarevic). Earlier that same year he had lost out in the Sydney final against Gilles Simon.
The No. 66-ranked Kukushkin was looking to win his first title since victory at St. Petersburg in 2010. The 27 year old dropped to a 1-2 mark in ATP World Tour finals.
The right-hander had embarked on a giant-killing run to reach the final, ousting sixth seed Pablo Cuevas in the second round, halting Juan Martin del Potro’s comeback in the quarter-finals and upsetting fifth seed Leonardo Mayer in the semi-finals. At next week’s Australian Open, he will play Malek Jaziri in the first round.
“For sure I can take something positive from this week,” said Kukushkin. “A final of an ATP tournament is important. Of course it's something special, and of course it was great for me anyway because I won seven matches.
“To start the season like that, to win so many matches, to get some confidence, is really important. So of course I take something positive from that. But of course it was a disappointing final for me; Viktor just played better today.”