SYDNEY - Viktor Troicki won the battle of the qualifiers to claim his second career title with a straight sets win over Mikhail Kukushkin in the final of the Sydney International on Saturday. Troicki crushed Kukushkin 6-2, 6-3 in a victory that will send the Serb moving up the world rankings. The one-time world No.12, who won his first title in Moscow five years ago, spiralled to 847th before his return from suspension last July, but is expected to be back in the top 70 on Monday from his current 92.

"A lot of emotions. It's been a tough road, a lot of work, and it paid off with a nice title," Troicki said. "If I look back where I was five, six months ago it's amazing to have a title already. So it's really nice moment for me and for all my team. It's very emotional." Troicki, 28, was forced to serve a 12-month ban for failing to take a blood test at the Monte Carlo Masters in 2013, and is eager to make up for lost time.

"When I got back, I looked on this like a second chance, second career actually," Troicki said. "It's been a nice comeback. It's been different playing tennis ever since I came back. I'm more happy on the court." In the first ATP final in history featuring two qualifiers, Troicki dispatched Kukushkin in 64 minutes after breaking the Kazakh twice in each set. Troicki, who lost to Frenchman Gilles Simon in the Sydney final four years ago, started and finished the match with an ace, serving a dozen in total. Troicki will launch his Australian Open campaign on Monday against another victorious qualifier, Czech Jiri Vesely, who earlier Saturday won the Auckland Open from qualifying. Kukushkin, the world No.66, was playing in his third ATP career final, having won in Moscow in 2013.

"I can take something positive from this week, that making the final of an ATP tournament is important," Kukushkin said. "It's something special, and of course it was great for me because I won seven matches (including qualifying)."