Borna Coric thumped the world’s number five Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to claim the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Coming into the tournament with ATP rankings of 152, Coric pulled out an epic heist against Rafael Nadal in the second round, and never looked back since then.
Other than Nadal, none of the six players – all ranked within the top 35 – managed to sneak out a set against Coric. Barring Lorenzo Musetti, whom he defeated in the first round, the next five opponents were ranked inside the top twenty.
In the final, it looked like the juggernaut is about to come to a halt after the Croat found himself 4-0 down in the first set. But he never lost his composure and broke twice to extend the set to the tie-break, which he won rather comfortably. The second set proved to be a one-sided affair, where Coric crushed Tsisipas 6-2 to claim the championships.
“It was a very, very tough match. At the beginning I wasn’t playing very well and he was pushing me very hard. But I started to serve better and play better and I was fighting hard,” Coric said in his on-court interview. “Then in the second set I thought I played the best set of the whole year.”
He also became the first player to win both the Challenger event and the Masters 1000 title in the same year. Coric underwent shoulder surgery last year and returned to the competitive circuit in March. He broke into the top 200 in ATP rankings only a couple of months ago, by winning the Challenger in Italy and reaching the final 16 of an ATP 500 event in Hamburg.
With the Cincy Open Triumph, Coric has now climbed to No. 29. If he continues his form in the upcoming US Open, he may well surpass his previous best in ATP rankings – No. 12 in 2018.
“I have no words, to be honest,” Coric said after the match. “It’s just unbelievable feeling. “Like I said many times, I [am] just going to enjoy this. I thought I could play well. I was training hard, and I knew I could play good tennis, but that I could play this level tennis, I was just not aware. I’m just super happy.”
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