No. 2 seed Viktor Troicki will have to make his way past Philipp Kohlschreiber is he is to progress any further at the Sofia Open. Their quarterfinal clash is live at 6pm local time (4pm BST.)
The Sofia Open has been fielding a quality draw for its first ever outing, and that has not ebbed with the passing of the first two rounds. All eight top seeds are safely into the quarterfinals, and in-form players Viktor Troicki and Philipp Kohlschreiber are among them. Unfortunately for the no. 2 and no. 5 seed, they must now face off for a place in the semifinals.
Benefiting from a first round bye, Troicki has only contested one match in Sofia thus far: A 6-4 6-3 win over big-hitting Daniel Brands of Germany. The name may be unfamiliar, but every win is a good thing – especially this one. With wins over the likes of Roger Federer, the current world no. 134 Brands came to Sofia from a Melbourne campaign in which he won four matches – three in qualifying, one in main draw. Often sidelined by injury, the German seems to be making a comeback. But Troicki, the Sydney champion of three weeks ago after saving championship point to beat Grigor Dimitrov, needed just 1 hour and five minutes to see off Brands. En route, he fired eight aces to zero double faults, and won a staggering 100 percent of first serve points during the match.
Philipp Kohlschreiber, on the other hand, enters this stage of the tournament with two wins under his belt - the first of these the most impressive. He dismissed world no. 66 Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2 6-2, saving three of five break points he faced, and converting on half of his 12 opportunities. He was made to work harder for his second victory, but still secured it 6-1 4-6 6-3 over world no. 77 Damir Dzumhur.
Despite Serbia's Troicki being the higher ranked player at world no. 25, former world no. 16 Kohlschreiber leads their head-to-head. Of the five meetings they have contested, he has triumphed in four, with Troicki's lone victory coming at the US Open in 2008 – and that via retirement, with the Serb 2-6 6-3 6-4 3-0 upbefore his opponent withdrew. Kohlschreiber, meanwhile, has triumphed 7-6(1) 6-4 on clay in 2010, 6-4 3-6 6-0 at the 2010 Canada Masters, 6-1 7-6(1) in Dubai 2011, and most recently 6-3 7-6(3) in Munich 2013.
Based on form in Bulgaria, Viktor Troicki would appear to be the favourite. But their rivalry to date screams Kohlschreiber's favour. Who will come out on top in their sixth meeting?
The quarterfinal – not to be missed – is live from the ATP Sofia Open at 6pm local time (4am BST.)