In a surprising turn of events, the two ATP World Tour title winners from last week’s events will begin their respective Australian Open campaigns against each other. Maiden champion Jiri Vesely and Serbia’s Viktor Troicki will cross paths for the first time on the professional tour, on the heels of their momentous weeks on the professional tour.
21-year-old Jiri Vesely will make a quick turnaround at the Aussie Open, as he won his first title on the tour at the Heineken Open in Auckland on Saturday, giving him less than 48 hours to prep for the season-opening Grand Slam event. The Czech youngster defeated both Ernests Gulbis and Kevin Anderson en route to the final, and is the latest in a string of title winners born in the 1990s. He eventually won the tournament with a 6-3, 6-2 win against France’s Adrian Mannarino.
“It feels amazing to be part of the ATP champions,” said Vesely. “It’s not something that everyone is [able] to achieve, so I’m very grateful for that.
“It’s a great start for me… I can really see that it’s possible to play with the best guys and I think that’s something very important for me for the future.”
That very same day in Sydney, world No. 92 Viktor Troicki was victorious against Mikhail Kukushkin 6-2, 6-3 in the first all-qualifier final in ATP Word Tour history. It marked the Serb’s second ever victory over Kukushkin and lasted a mere 64 minutes. He struck 13 aces and won 73% of his first service points to close out the contest in straightforward fashion.
“I’ve got to say I have been working harder than ever probably, and I feel very, very fit,” added the Serb. “I didn’t have any problems. I had eight matches here and luckily I haven’t had problems. I feel very fresh again. I feel I can go again good on Monday. Definitely I was working hard and that’s paying off. I have inside myself trust in my body, and I feel I can do a lot of things.”
Now that both Vesely and Troicki has lifted titles in the last 48 hours, they will look to cross paths for the first time on the tour, in a match-up that will determine who will make it to the second round of the Happy Slam.
Prediction: Jiri Vesely in Five Sets