Sydney: Gilles Simon and Viktor Troicki will renew Franco-Serbian rivalry in the final of the Sydney International after comfortable semi-final victories at the Olympic tennis center on Friday.
Third-seeded Frenchman Simon was dropped for the deciding rubber of the Davis Cup final in Belgrade last month and watched on as Troicki clinched the men's team trophy for Serbia for the first time.
The Frenchman won his Sydney semi-final 7-6 6-0 on Friday after Latvian Ernests Gulbis imploded after being broken when serving for the first set and managed to win just three points in the second.
Fourth seed Troicki later made 40 unforced errors but hit 37 winners to beat Germany's Florian Mayer 6-4 7-6 and reach his fourth tour final.
Baseline hustler Simon, ranked sixth in the world at the start of 2009 but on the comeback trail after a serious knee injury, was broken on his first service game but forced his way back into the first set with a break for 5-5.
His young Latvian opponent smashed his racket into a tangled mess after conceding the break then went on to lose the tiebreak before notching up his paltry tally of points in second, blaming fatigue for his poor performance.
Simon was delighted to reach his 10th tour final and be in the hunt for the eighth title of his career on Saturday but said nothing would make up for the disappointment of losing the Davis Cup final.
"The Davis Cup is finished now," he said. "It's a good memory for them and bad for us. Even if I win 6-0 6-0 tomorrow it won't change anything. I prefer to win the Davis Cup.
"So I'm sorry. It's a nice tournament, Sydney, but I prefer to win the Davis Cup."
Troicki blamed the wind for the error-strewn match against Mayer and agreed with Simon that the final of an Australian Open warm-up event was no match for the frenzy of the famous December night in Belgrade.
"This is a different thing," he said. "There it was much more pressure. I never experienced so much pressure than that day. Here, I'm relaxed. I mean, it's another match.
"Even though it's a final, I mean, I can win, but I can lose and it's still okay. There, if I lost it would be a disaster ..."