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Monfils vs Troicki ATP Sofia Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Monfils seeks fifth straight win over Troicki

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 5 Feb 2019
  • Gael Monfils vs Viktor Troicki is live from Sofia on Tuesday, 5 February from 7:30pm local time/ 5:30pm GMT
  • Monfils leads 4-0 on head-to-head, and has won the last three in straight sets
Gael Monfils. (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Former world No. 6, Gael Monfils opens his bid for the Sofia Open title on Tuesday when he takes on Serbian wildcard, Viktor Troicki in the first round.

Monfils is playing just his second tournament of the season, with his only other appearance the tour this year being at the Australian Open, where he fell to Taylor Fritz in four tight sets in the second round, after crushing Damir Dzumhur for the loss of just four games in the previous round. The Frenchman had earlier withdrawn from the ASB Classic earlier in the year due to a thigh injury.

Monfils enjoyed his career best season in 2016, when he reached No. 6 in the world and qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time, but he has been hampered by injuries in the subsequent seasons, ending 2017 outside the top 40 and stuttering to 29th in the world by the end of 2018.

His best result last season was a title run in Doha right at the start of the year, while he made another final in Antwerp much later in the season, losing to Kyle Edmund in the championship match. In between those finals, he reached semi-finals in Buenos Aires and Antalya, made the fourth round at Wimbledon, and claimed a Challenger title in Kaohsiung.  His season ended on an all too familiar note, unfortunately, as he retired from a quarter final meeting with Fernando Verdasco in Vienna, and wasn't seen again until this year's Australian Open.

Following his short-lived stay in Melbourne, Monfils makes his debut in Sofia, where he opens against Serbia’s Viktor Troicki.

Viktor Troicki. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Like Monfils, Troicki is playing his second tour-level event of the year, and like Tuesday's opponent, he also crashed out in the second round of the Australian Open, losing to eventual semi-finalist, Stefanos Tsitsipas, having come through the qualifying rounds, and beating Spaniard, Roberto Carballes Baena in five sets in the first round of the main draw. The 32-year-old had opened his season at the Playford Challenger in Australia, where he lost in the second round to Germany's Oscar Otte.

Now ranked 185th in the world, Troicki was as high as No. 12 in 2011, but he dropped as low as 847th in the middle of 2014 after serving a one-year ban due to a doping offence. Troicki fought his way up to a year-end ranking of 101, and was back inside the top 100 at the start of 2015. He secured back-to-back top 30 finishes in 2015 and 2016, and a top-60 ranking at the end of 2017, but he took another big tumble in 2018, falling out of the top 200 after a poor campaign, during which he was affected by injuries.

The Serbian played just 13 tournaments last season, with a quarter final in Sofia being his best result, while he crashed out in the first round in eight of those 13 meets. He also missed Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Troicki reached the final of the inaugural edition of the Sofia Open in 2016, defeating Daniel Brands, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Martin Klizan before losing to Roberto Bautista-Agut in the title match. The Serbian has followed that up with successive quarter final runs at the tournament, and given his struggles in the last year, another quarter final in 2019 wouldn’t be too bad a performance, you feel. He’s got to cross a couple of hurdles to get three, starting with the sizeable challenge of Gael Monfils in the first round on Tuesday. 

Monfils has dominated Troicki through the years, winning all four previous matches between the two, and the last three in straight sets. Hopefully, injury doesn't intervene in this one as both men have had their problems in recent times! While Troicki carries some firepower, he has been second best to Monfils in this series, with the Frenchman able to diffuse the Serbian’s threat with his supreme athleticism, and counter with his shot-making abilities. The former world No. 6 should once again prove too good for Troicki.

Gael Monfils vs Viktor Troicki is live from Sofia on Tuesday, 5 February from 7:30pm local time/ 5:30pm GMT

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Monfils vs Troicki ATP Sofia Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Monfils seeks fifth straight win over Troicki

Gael Monfils opens his Sofia campaign on Tuesday when he plays Viktor Troicki. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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