Stan Wawrinka says 'level is getting better' after reaching Sofia Open semi-finals
Three-time grand slam champion made a premature exit from Australian Open, but has since been winning again
Stan Wawrinka said his game was back on the up after seeing off Viktor Troicki in straight sets to reach the semi-finals of the Sofia Open on Friday.
The Swiss suffered a second-round exit from the Australian Open last month in what was his first competitive match since Wimbledon, having undergone knee surgery last summer.
However, the three-time grand slam champion has now strung back-to-back victories together in Sofia to reach the last four, following up his three-set win over Martin Klizan with a 6-1, 7-6 triumph over sixth seed Troicki on Friday.
"I think my level is getting better. I'm serving and moving better and it's a great win for me," Wawrinka, who is chasing the 17th tour-level title of his career, said on atpworldtour.com. "I'm enjoying my time, I'm fighting on the court and that's the most important."
Wawrinka will face Mirza Basic for a place in the final after the Bosnian defeated Maximilian Marterer 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Romania's Marius Copil reached his first ATP World Tour semi-final after upsetting third seed Gilles Muller 6-4, 6-4.
Copil will now take on Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik, who defeated Marcos Baghdatis 7-6, 6-4.
In Montpellier, top seed and world No 7 David Goffin had little trouble seeing off Karen Khachanov in their quarter-final encounter.
Goffin did not face a single break point while fashioning 11 of his own en route to a 6-4, 6-4 win over the Russian.
The Belgian may find things a little tougher now, though, with his next opponent being home hope Richard Gasquet, who boasts a formidable record in this tournament.
The Frenchman, seeded fifth, was champion here in 2013, 2015 and 2016 and is looking to reach the final for a sixth successive year.
He moved a step closer to achieving that feat with a 6-4, 6-2 win over fourth seed Damir Dzumhur - improving his record to 21 victories in 23 matches in Montpellier since 2013.
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His compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the third seed, is also through after beating sixth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev 6-4, 7-6.
Tsonga's next opponent will be second-seeded Lucas Pouille, who beat fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-4 in less than an hour to complete the semi-final line-up.
Two qualifiers have made it to the semi-finals at the Ecuador Open on another day of upsets.
Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena defeated eighth seed Nicolas Jarry, overcoming 14 aces from the Chilean to win 3-6, 6-2, 7-6.
He will next face fellow qualifier Andrej Martin, who knocked out Frenchman Corentin Moutet 6-3, 6-4.
No 3 seed Gael Monfils was also dumped from the competition, losing 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to world No 118 Thiago Monteiro.
However, second seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas has emerged as a favourite for the title after toppling Austria's Gerald Melzer 6-2, 6-4.
The Spaniard won 70 per cent of the points on Melzer's second serve to help him reach his third semi-final in Quito.
Updated: February 10, 2018 09:39 AM