Sofia QF previews and predictions: Dimitrov vs. Troicki, Goffin vs. Darcis

Grigor Dimitrov will continue his Sofia campaign in front of the home Bulgarian crowd when he goes up against Viktor Troicki on Friday. Another quarterfinal features an all-Belgian affair between David Goffin and Steve Darcis.

(3) Grigor Dimitrov vs. (9) Viktor Troicki

Dimitrov and Troicki will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers when they battle for a semifinal spot at the Sofia Open on Friday. The head-to-head series stands at two wins apiece and each of their three most recent meetings–all in 2016–went the distance. Dimitrov got the job done 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-2 in Brisbane before Troicki prevailed 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(7) one week later in the Sydney title match and 2-6, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 in the French Open first round.

Speaking of thrillers, Troicki almost missed out on getting another shot at Dimitrov. The 37th-ranked Serb was two points from defeat against Robin Haase on Thursday before recovering for a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) victory. Troicki, who is 7-3 this season with a semifinal showing in Sydney, preceded that result by beating wild card Cem Ilkel 6-3, 6-2 in the opening round. In his first appearance since losing a five-set Australian Open semifinal thriller to Rafael Nadal, Dimitrov outlasted Jerzy Janowicz 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 on Thursday. The third-seeded Bulgarian has clearly been one of the best players on tour this year, with an 11-1 record and a title in Brisbane. Incredible confidence and home-court advantage should help Dimitrov reach the semifinals without too much trouble.

Pick: Dimitrov in 2

Steve Darcis vs. (2) David Goffin

Fresh off Davis Cup heroics for Belgium, Darcis has gotten right back in gear to pick up two more victories en route to the Sofia quarterfinals. Last weekend in Germany, the world No. 59 beat Philipp Kohlschreiber in a fifth-set tiebreaker and Alexander Zverev in a fourth-set ‘breaker to send the Belgians to the quarterfinals. Darcis earned his place in the Sofia quarters by taking out Maximilian Marterer and Andreas Seppi in straight sets.

Up next for Darcis on Friday is a third career meeting (first at the ATP level) with Goffin, his fellow Belgian. They split their two previous tilts on the Challenger circuit; Darcis won 7-6(4), 6-1 at the 2011 St. Remy event before Goffin prevailed 6-3, 6-3 in the 2014 Mons title match. Goffin, who skipped last weekend’s Davis Cup festivities, is coming off a quarterfinal performance at the Australian Open. A well-rested world No. 11 should be able to halt the hot streak of an opponent who has to be feeling some fatigue.

Pick: Goffin in 3

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