Troicki's three-peat won't happen after loss in Sydney semis
SYDNEY: There won't be a third consecutive Sydney International title for Viktor Troicki after the Serbian player lost 6-3, 7-6 (6) to Gilles Muller in the semi-finals on Friday at Olympic Park.
Troicki was trying to become the first player in the Open era to win three Sydney titles in a row, surpassing the feats of Americans Pete Sampras and James Blake, and Lleyton Hewitt, who did it twice.
Muller was so sick last week in Brisbane he struggled to leave his hotel room.
"When I came here, I wasn't expecting anything because I didn't play really well in Brisbane and I wasn't feeling great," Muller said. "I was looking to have one or two more matches before the Australian Open."
The sixth-seeded Muller will play either Daniel Evans of Britain or Andrew Kuznetsov of Russia in Saturday's final. Kuznetov plays Evans in a Friday night semifinal.
The women's final between Agnieszka Radwanska and Johanna Konta was scheduled to precede the men's semifinal.
At Auckland, New Zealand, Jack Sock will play Joao Sousa in Saturday's ASB Classic final after posting semifinal wins.
Sousa beat Marcos Baghdatis 6-1, 7-5 while Sock defeated fellow American Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-3.
Sock, who lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the 2016 final, will play his sixth ATP final.
"It wasn't easy," Sock said. "Stevie's such a good player, he had such a good year last year and we know each other so well. We both had a good idea what we wanted to do out there. I was able to execute pretty well."
Sousa was impressive in beating the eighth-seeded Baghdatis in 72 minutes. He was on top from the beginning, breaking Baghdatis twice to take the first set in only 27 minutes.
"I've been playing better and better this tournament which has been a great thing for me," Sousa said.
At the WTA's Hobart International, Elise Mertens of Belgium beat fellow qualifier Jana Fett 6-4, 6-0 to advance to Saturday's final against Monica Niculescu. Mertens beat top-seeded Kiki Bertens in straight sets in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Earrlier, Lesia Tsurenko withdrew from her semifinal against Niculescu, handing the Romanian a walkover to the final.
Tsurenko, who has viral illness, has been drawn to meet No. 1 and defending champion Angelique Kerber in the first round of the Australian Open.
After withdrawing from the Brisbane International with a similar complaint, the 61st-ranked Tsurenko won three matches in Hobart.
"I'm really disappointed because I'm still not feeling well, and it is getting worse with playing more and more matches," Tsurenko said. "I'm taking some more medications and really hope to be better in Melbourne."
The Australian Open begins Monday, although Tsurenko might not have to play Kerber until Tuesday.