Sun, Feb 11, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Resurgent Wawrinka overpowers Troicki in Sofia

Reuters, SOFIA

A dominant Stan Wawrinka on Friday outclassed Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) to book his place in the semi-finals of the ATP Sofia Open and suggested that his recovery from a knee injury is well under way.

The 32-year-old Swiss, who had surgery in August last year and only returned to the court last month, offered fans at the Armeets Arena plenty of “oooh-aahh” moments with his trademark backhand winners.

“It was a great match, I played better than I expected,” said Wawrinka, who aims to clinch his first title since winning the Geneva Open in May last year. “I’m improving every day, I’m moving better and I’m serving better. I think my level is getting better.”

“I’m doing everything to keep winning, that’s for sure,” he said after just his third win of this year. “I’m enjoying my time, I’m fighting on the court and that’s the most important.”

Wawrinka’s semi-final opponent is to be Bosnian qualifier Mirza Basic, who produced a solid display to beat Maximilian Marterer 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, claiming his second German scalp after eliminating fourth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber on Wednesday.

World No. 93 Marius Copil fired down 13 aces to reach his first ATP semi-final with an impressive 6-4, 6-4 victory over third seed Gilles Muller — his third consecutive straight-sets win.

The 1.93m-tall Romanian lost only three points on his serve before breaking for a 5-4 lead and wrapping up the opening set, winning the next game to love.

The second set was a tighter affair, but Luxembourg’s Muller, one of the last of dying breed of players prepared to serve and volley, could not find a solution to Copil’s aggression and accuracy.

Copil is to face Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik, who continued his fairy-tale week with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 win over Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, his fifth successive victory on Bulgarian soil.

World No. 187 Kovalik needed all his firepower and mental strength to fend off the resilient Cypriot in a highly charged clash that lasted 1 hour, 55 minutes and reach his first ATP semi-final.

“This is the biggest win of my career,” a delighted Kovalik said in a courtside interview.

Additional reporting by AFP

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