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Wozniacki, Vinci set to clash for Istanbul title

AFP-JIJI

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki will tackle Roberta Vinci for the Istanbul WTA title on Sunday as the magical run of 16-year-old Ana Konjuh was ended at the semifinal stage.

Wozniacki made the final with a 6-2, 6-3 win over France’s Kristina Mladenovic, while second-seeded Italian Vinci brushed aside Konjuh 6-4, 6-2.

Vinci had lost to Konjuh in the first round in Auckland this season in the pair’s only other previous meeting.

“The conditions were difficult out there today with the wind, so it made everything a little harder,” Wozniacki said of her clash with Mladenovic.

“I just tried to stay focused and play my best tennis and I’m glad it worked out.”

Vinci leads Wozniacki 2-1 in head-to-head meetings, including beating the Dane when she was ranked No. 1 in 2011 and also capturing their only 2014 encounter.

Vinci is also on a roll, winning eight of nine matches since coming out of Wimbledon.

Troicki set for return

AFP-JIJI

Viktor Troicki will make his return to tennis when his controversial one-year doping ban ends on Monday, with the Serb playing on a late wild card entry at the Swiss Open in Gstaad.

Troicki was awarded his wild card only hours before the weekend draw, with the 28-year-old set to put his career back on track as he starts in the first round against Austrian eighth seed Dominic Thiem.

Troicki drew his ban for delaying a mandatory blood test at Monte Carlo in April 2013 by a day, saying he felt ill.

Despite having blood drawn a day later, he was banned for a year.

After reaching a career high of 12th in the world and helping Serbia win the Davis Cup in 2010, the 28-year-old Troicki is now ranked 842nd in the world.

“Honestly, it’s been a tough year,” Troicki, whose original 18-month ban was cut to 12 on appeal, told CNN.

“Mentally it was tough to handle everything but as time went on, I started preparing and practicing, and I was focused on my comeback and new start — and looking forward to it.”

Troicki also praised the support of teammate and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic with whom he practiced while he waited out his ban.

“Novak helped me a lot when he had weeks of preparation, he always invited me,” he said Troicki. “He really did a lot for me and I will never forget that.”

The clay court event at Gstaad is headed by Russian title-holder Mikhail Youzhny, the top seed, who cannot seem to get enough of the lush alpine village venue.

Youzhny will be competing for the eighth year in a row and ninth overall in Gstaad as he returns following his title win in 2013 against Dutchman Robin Haase.

Spaniard Marcel Granollers, the 2011 champion, takes the second seeding, with the top four seeds all given byes into the second round.