Wawrinka Battles Through To Sofia SF
Copil ousts Muller for first ATP World Tour semi-final
Top-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka continued his bid for a 17th tour-level title on Friday, ousting familiar foe Viktor Troicki, the No. 6 seed, 6-1, 7-6(3) at the Diema Xtra Sofia Open.
"I think my level is getting better," Wawrinka said. "I'm serving and moving better and it's a great win for me."
The Swiss extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against the Serbian to 9-0, with their most recent match coming in the third round of the 2017 Australian Open. Wawrinka, who is still on the mend after two left knee surgeries last summer, is into the 57th tour-level semi-final of his career (28-28).
After getting pushed to three sets in his opening-round match, Wawrinka appeared in control of his quarter-final. The World No. 15 surged through the opening set, losing just five points on his serve. But in the second set, Troicki found his game and broke the Swiss for a 5-3 lead. And while he could not serve out the set, Troicki also held a 3/0 lead in the ensuing tie-break. Wawrinka was too strong on the day, though.
"I'm doing everything to keep winning, that's for sure," Wawrinka said. "I'm enjoying my time, I'm fighting on the court and that's the most important."
The 32-year-old will next play qualifier Mirza Basic. The Bosnian is into his second ATP World Tour semi-final after dispatching German Maximilian Marterer 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Basic has now advanced to the semi-finals at two of his past three ATP World Tour 250 events, with the previous appearance coming in Moscow, where he lost to compatriot Damir Dzumhur.
In the bottom half of the draw, Romania’s Marius Copil advanced to the first ATP World Tour semi-final of his career by remaining composed in a 6-4, 6-4 victory over third seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. One break in the ninth game of each set proved to be enough for Copil, who struck 13 aces and lost eight of his first-service points in the 80-minute encounter. He’d previously lost five quarter-finals and now faces Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik.
Kovalik, who saved one match point in beating countryman Lukas Lacko in the second round, defeated Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 7-6(2), 6-4 in one hour and 53 minutes.
“I feel amazing and I enjoyed the match today, it was a nice atmosphere,” Kovalik told ATPWorldTour.com. “He is a great mover on the court, has good defence, a very good forehand and serve. I tried to push him and striker winners. Copil will be a different player, very aggressive, but it’s a good chance for both of us to reach our first final.”
Mektic/Peya Advance To Doubles Final
Second seeds Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya advanced to their first ATP World Tour final as a team with a 6-2, 6-4 win over third seeds Nicholas Monroe and John-Patrick Smith in 57 minutes. Mektic has a 2-2 record in title matches, with his two trophies coming last year with Brian Baker in Memphis and Hungary. Peya will be looking to improve upon his 15-26 mark in finals. They await the winners of fourth seeds Dutch fourth seeds Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop versus Scott Lipsky and Divij Sharan.
Did You Know?
Wawrinka has dropped just three of 23 sets against Troicki in their nine meetings.