• Troicki, Baghdatis square off in Malaysian Open semis

    10/1/11 2:47 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Troicki, Baghdatis square off in Malaysian Open semis A spot in the Kuala Lumpur final will be at stake when Viktor Troicki and Marcos Baghdatis clash on Saturday. Either Janko Tipsarevic or Kei Nishikori awaits the winner in the title match.

    Viktor Troicki and Marcos Baghdatis will be meeting for the third time in their careers when they vie for a spot in the Malaysian Open final on Saturday.

    Both of their previous encounters came on hard courts in 2010 and they split with one win apiece. Baghdatis prevailed 7-5, 6-3 to begin the season in Sydney before Troicki got revenge with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory during the fall swing in Moscow.

    The two competitors could be rounding into form just in time to end their years on high notes. Troicki's 2011 campaign has been a successful one, but it took a dive during the U.S. Open Series. Nonetheless, the 15th-ranked Serb appears to be back on course with straight-set wins in Kuala Lumpur over Denis Istomin and Dmitry Tursunov. Troicki, seeded second this week, is 36-20 for the season.

    Baghdatis also trudged through an uninspiring summer, during which he compiled a 4-6 record on American hard courts. The 60th-Cypriot, however, earned his spot in this semifinal matchup with victories over Alex Bogomolov, Somdev Devvarman, and fourth-seeded Jugen Melzer.

    Troicki and Baghdatis are two of the best when it comes to ball-striking from the back of the court, so expect a hard-hitting baseline battle with patches of inconsistency. Based on a slight edge in current form, Baghdatis in three sets is the pick.

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