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Serbia's Viktor Troicki wins 81 per cent of points behind his first serve to beat Ernests Gulbis at the Diema Xtra Sofia Open on Tuesday.

Troicki Passes Gulbis Test In Sofia

World No. 67 will meet Denis Istomin in the second round

Viktor Troicki secured just his third win in nine matches since the 2017 Rolex Shanghai Masters to beat former Top 10 player Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3 at the Diema Xtra Sofia Open on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old started strong with an early break of serve before closing out the opener to love with confidence. The second set saw dominant serving from both men, with none of the 12 games reaching deuce before Gulbis dominated the tie-break to force a decider.

Troicki continued his dominant serving in the third set, and after breaking the Latvian in the fourth game, served out the match to love five games later to end Gulbis’ challenge. Troicki did not face a single break point in the one-hour, 54-minute contest and will now face Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin for a place in the quarter-finals.

Istomin scored a fourth win of the season to beat Bulgarian wild card Adrian Andreev 6-3, 6-4. The Uzbek was broken on three occasions and let 5-1 and 2-0 leads in the first and second sets slip, but broke his opponent five times in the one-hour, 18-minute encounter to set up the second-round meeting with Troicki.

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It was also a successful day for qualifiers at the Diema Xtra Sofia Open, who won the first three completed singles matches of the day.

Mirza Basic successfully handled the difficulty of facing a new opponent to beat lucky loser Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-1 after Sergiy Stakhovsky withdrew from the tournament due to illness. Martin Klizan booked a second round meeting against No.1 seed Stan Wawrinka after safely navigating a tough first set en route to a 7-5, 6-1 win over wild card Alexander Donski. Klizan’s compatriot Jozef Kovalik also had reason for celebration after upsetting Romania’s Radu Albot 6-3, 6-3.

In doubles action, Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya notched their second win of 2018 in 53 minutes with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Russian duo Evgeny Donskoy and Mikhail Youzhny. The second seeds will next meet Maximilian Marterer and Joao Sousa who stormed past the Bulgarian team of Radoslav Shandarov and Vasil Shandarov 6-1, 6-2 in 45 minutes.

Third seeds Nicholas Monroe and John-Patrick Smith came from a set down to beat Romania’s Marius Copil and Florin Mergea 4-6, 6-1, 10-6. Scott Lipsky and Divij Sharan also advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Dimitar Kuzmanov and Vasko Mladenov.

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