Defending champion Bernard Tomic is now two wins away from once again hoisting the Sydney crown in from of his countrymen. One of the two competitors that potentially stand in his way is Ukrainian serve-and-volleyer Sergiy Stakhovsky, who meets Tomic for the second time on the ATP tour. Tomic leads the head-to-head series 1-0, with a victory two years ago in Miami.
Australian no. 2 Bernard Tomic was faced with the tough task of eliminating Alexandr Dolgopolov, who held a 5-1 h2h record over the defending champion. In shades of his outstanding performances at the event last year, Tomic held his nerve and managed to control the majority of the match against the Ukrainian, eventually breaking to win the opening set 6-4. The second set featured an even more confident Tomic, as he quickly broke to lead 3-0 early in the set, before closing it out 6-3 to book his semi-final berth.
“It’s just about playing my game and just relaxing,” Tomic said. “When you play tennis you sort of try to think too much and you become tight. You don’t play you’re game in the end. You want to relax and go for your shots and have a clear mind. That’s very important.”
The 21-year old is well on his way to a consecutive title defence here in Syndey; a feat which has not been accomplished since James Blake in 2006-07. It was also one that Hewitt enjoyed twice, both in 2000-01 and 2004-05.
Stakhovsky booked his place in the semi-finals of the Sydney International by defeating local talent Marinko Matosevic 6-4 6-3 yesterday. The Ukrainian, who’s claim to fame is a victory over 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the second round of the Wimbledon Championships, is yet to drop a set in Sydney and holds victories over Carlos Berlocq, Julien Benneteau as well as Matosevic. The world no. 101 is now searching for his fifth title on the tour and his first since 2010.
The head-to-head record between the two athletes stands at 1-0 in favour of Tomic, who defeated the Ukrainian in straight sets almost two years ago in Miami. While Sergiy is certainly a crafty attacker with his net-rushing tactics, it is doubtful that his approach will fluster the young Australian, who has the power and talent to keep Stakhovsky on the defensive throughout the match.
Prediction: Bernard Tomic in Straight Sets