Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov will take on defending champ Viktor Troicki for the second time in as many weeks in the final of the Sydney International on Saturday night.
Dimitrov ousted the Serbian in three sets in last week’s second-round encounter at the Brisbane International, and also defeated him in their only other meeting, back in 2012.
But the Bulgarian said he was still wary of the world No.22, who defeated Mikhail Kukushkin in straight sets in last year’s final.
“Last week I was down a set and a break against him,” Dimitrov said.
“He plays good tennis, an all-round player. He knows his way around here pretty well. I’ve seen a couple of his matches, so obviously he’s capable of playing incredible tennis.”
“Of course I like the odds on my side. I’ve been playing better each match and feeling confident with each win, so that really helps a lot coming into a final.”
Dimitrov, the world No.28, qualified for his first final in over 14 months after dispatching Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller 6-2 7-6 (7-4), where he lost just two points on serve in a dominant first set.
The big-serving Muller fired back with 12 aces in the second, however it wasn’t enough to stop an in-form Dimitrov sealing his first appearance in a final since being runner-up at Stockholm in October, 2014.
Troicki had a far tougher challenge in his semi-final, coming back from a set down to record a 3-6 6-4 6-4 win over Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili.
It was the second match of the day for both finalists after heavy rain postponed their quarter-finals until Friday morning.
Dimitrov went through after overcoming a stubborn Alexandr Dolgopolov in three sets, while Troicki also went the distance with Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.
Earlier, Australian No.1 Bernard Tomic controversially retired from his quarter-final against Gabashvili, citing food poisoning.
A disinterested Tomic was trailing 6-3 3-0 when he pulled the plug.
The world No.17 was seen telling chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani that his ranking would only go up one spot if he made the Sydney final, and that he was “looking for Melbourne, not looking for this.”
He later laughed off the remarks.
“I told him, yeah, two matches today, sick, win the tournament, go up one spot,” he said.
“Doesn’t sound good for me, does it?”