Simon downs Troicki to win Sydney title

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Sydney, Jan 15 (AFP) Gilles Simon claimed his eighthcareer ATP title with a solid straight sets victory overSerbia''s Viktor Troicki in the final of the SydneyInternational on Saturday.

The steady Frenchman drove the emotional Troicki to sheerfrustration with his consistency to carve out a 7-5, 7-6 (7/4)victory in 1hr 59min.

Fourth seed Troicki''s anxiety turned to anger when hehurled his racquet into the court and kicked out at the net asSimon won his fifth straight match against the Serb.

Troicki has yet to take a set off the No.41 rankedFrenchman, who defeated three seeds on the way to the Sydneytitle in his 10th ATP Tour final.

He downed Taiwan''s eighth seed Lu Yen-Hsun in the firstround and Latvian third seed Ernests Gulbis in his semi-final.

Simon held his nerve in the second set tiebreaker asTroicki was unsettled by a foot fault call on a second serveat 5-2 to give the Frenchman the edge.

Both players traded service breaks early in the openingset before Simon began to take control with his big forehandsand steady defence.

Troicki fought off four set points in the 10th game,although the Frenchman was unlucky not to take the set whenthe Serbian successfully challenged an ''out'' call.

But Simon broke Troicki''s serve a second time in the 12thgame to take the opening set in 58 minutes, prompting the Serbto hurl his racquet into the court in disgust.

Troicki hit back with a double service break early in thesecond set, but the Frenchman broke back to trail 3-1.

A weak Troicki backhand into the net gave back anotherbreak to level the match at 3-3.

The frustrated Serb kicked out at the net as Simonstepped up the pressure and hit the front.

Troicki broke back with a smash but Simon sent the setinto a tiebreaker when he broke again.

Simon always had the lead in the tiebreak and worked hisway to two match points, taking the title when Troicki sent abackhand wide.

It was some measure of satisfaction for Simon afterFrance''s Davis Cup final loss to Serbia in Belgrade lastmonth. (AFP) AT

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