The Croatian, who competed in his first tour-level final since 2020, lost Rafael Nadal en route to his second Masters 1000 final. Under pressure, Coric showed courage against the Greek, collecting in the first set from 1-4 before blasting his way past the fourth seed in the second set and triumphing in Cincinnati after an hour and 57 minutes.
Coric missed most of last season due to a shoulder injury and entered the draw with a protected ranking as Cincinnati sat at No. 152 on the Pepperstone ATP rankings. However, he is ranked 29th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings after his fairytale run while improving to 2-1 against Tsitsipas in his ATP Head2Head series.
Borna Coric Pepperstone ATP Live Ranking” style=”width: 100%;” />
“It was a very, very tough match. In the beginning I didn’t play very well and he pushed me a lot. But I started serving better and playing better and I fought hard,” Coric said in his on-pitch interview. “In the second set I thought I had played the best set of the whole year.”
Coric dropped just one set during his run to the championship game in his sixth appearance at the hard-court event and also lost Lorenzo MusettiNadal, Roberto Bautista Agut, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Cameron Norrie. The 25-year-old has now won three Tour-level titles on all three surfaces, having risen to success in 2017 on clay in Marrakesh and 2018 on grass in Halle.
“Thanks to my parents who are not here, my sister and my team. It was very tough for us,” Coric added during the awards ceremony. “If I didn’t have my physiotherapist I wouldn’t be on the court… Then of course to my tennis coach Mate. We worked very hard and now we are here.”
Tsitsipas flew out of the blocks in a thrilling first set as he opened his shoulders to take a 4-1 lead. Coric showed signs of nervousness in the opening games but began to calm down as the set progressed. The Croatian started to find his points on serve while serving off the floor with greater depth and pace to bounce back at 4-4. With one tie-break left to decide the opener, it was Coric who sped into high gear, capitalizing on early mistakes from Tsitsipa to take the lead.
After scoring 18 winners in the first set, the 25-year-old continued to look comfortable at the start of the second set. Coric hit his watertight groundstrokes with consistency on return, earning the crucial break in game six of the set against a tiring Tsitsipas. The Croatian, who made just 14 unforced errors, then deflected pressure from Tsitsipas on serve before breaking again to claim the biggest win of his career.
Coric tried to kick inside the baseline and attack Tsitsipas in the second set in a move that worked. As shown in his INSIGHTS: Conversion scorethe Croatian was clinical, holding an 87 percent conversion rate, well above the tour average of 66 percent.
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Borna Korik‘s conversion scores in the second set of the Cincinnati finals.” style=”width: 100%;” />
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Prior to his shoulder surgery in May 2021, Coric had racked up nine wins against top-five opponents and had risen to No. 12 in the world rankings. The Croatian made his comeback at Indian Wells this March and had 8 of his 13 Tour-level games in 2022 before his dream run in Cincinnati.
Tsitsipas wanted to win his third Masters 1000 title and 10th tour-level trophy. The Greek, who defended the title in Monte Carlo in April, gave way Daniel Medvedev in a hard-fought semi-final win and sits 5th on the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
The 24-year-old has also moved up to second place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin as he attempts to qualify for qualifying Nitto ATP Finals for the fourth time in a row. He lifted the trophy at the 2019 season finale.
Borna Coric celebrates his Cincinnati title with coach Buddy Delic (left) and physio/fitness trainer Yiannis Louizos.” />
Borna Korik celebrates his Cincinnati title with coach Buddy Delic (left) and physio/fitness trainer Yiannis Louizos.
Did you know?
Coric is the first player to have since won a Masters 1000 title and an ATP Challenger Tour title in the same season Michael Pernfors in 1993. It’s only happened three times since the ATP Masters 1000 debuted as a series in 1990 [also Thomas Muster 1992]. Coric won a Challenger Trophy in Parma, Italy in June.