Sydney - Luxembourg's Gilles Muller reached his
third-straight semi-final at the Sydney International with a big-serving straight
sets victory over second seed Pablo Cuevas on Thursday.
Muller thundered down 17 aces in downing the Uruguayan 7-6
(7/5) 6-4 and will face two-time defending champion Viktor Troicki in Friday's
Troicki, on a 13-match winning streak in Sydney, advanced to
the last four after German Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew before their match
citing a lower back injury.
Sixth seed Muller knew he would face a tough test against
Troicki to make it to Saturday's final.
"He hasn't lost a match in Sydney like, forever. He
beat me in the semis two years ago," Muller said.
"I know he's a great player. He's up there for a long
time and it's gonna be a tough match."
Muller knew his best chance was to continue serving well as
he had done this week in the tournament.
"(I'm) just trying to stay positive, (I'll) try to play
well. I think if I serve like I did today it won't be easy to break me.
"I have to focus on that and try to build up from
"For me it's the third year in a row for the
semi-finals so I'd also like to get one stage further."
It was not always straightforward for Muller, with Cuevas
saving six set points before losing the opening set tiebreaker and then Muller
winning on his third match point.
"Today was definitely a big step forward. Even though I
don't think I played a great match... I played a solid match," Muller
"I served pretty well, I was able to focus during the
whole match - there were no ups and downs like in the previous rounds. So I'm
very happy about that."
Earlier in the day, German journeyman Kohlschreiber
succumbed to lower back soreness that developed a few days ago.
"It's unfortunate. I think I played a good
tournament," the 33-year-old said.
"But the improvements are not that big that I'm 100
percent sure to be able to go out on court today.
"It's sad situation. I played some good tennis, and I'm
sorry for it."
Russian Andrey Kuznetsov overcame Spanish fourth seed Pablo
Carreno Busta 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 and will face either Austrian top seed Dominic
Thiem or Britain's Daniel Evans in the other semi-final.