TENNIS

Borna Coric captures the Maiden Masters 1000 crown in Cincinnati | ATP tour

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Borna Coric capped a remarkable comeback from injury on Sunday when he won his first ATP Masters 1000 title, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (0), 6-2 in the Open from West and South final.

The Croatian, in his first tour-level final since 2020, beat Rafael Nadal en route to his second Masters 1000 final. Under pressure, Coric showed courage against the Greek, rallying 1-4 in the first set, before fighting his way past the fourth seed in the second set to triumph after an hour and 57 minutes in Cincinnati.

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Coric missed the majority of last season with a shoulder injury and entered the Cincinnati draw with a protected ranking, sitting at No. 152 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings. However, he is 29th in the Pepperstone ATP Live rankings after his fairy tale run, as he improved to 2-1 in his ATP Head2Head series against Tsitsipas.

Borna Coric Pepperstone ATP Live Ranking” style=”width: 100%;” />

“It was a very, very hard game. At first 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 during of his on-court interview. “Then in the second set, I thought I had played the best set of the whole year.”

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Coric dropped just one set in their run to the league match in their sixth hard-court appearance, also beating Lorenzo Musetti, Nadal, 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 won success on clay in Marrakech in 2017 and on grass in Halle in 2018.

“Thank you to my parents, who are not there, to my sister and to my team. It was very difficult for us,” Coric added during the award ceremony. “With my physio, if I didn’t have him, I wouldn’t be on the court… So of course to my tennis coach, Mate. We’ve worked really hard and now we’re here.

Tsitsipas rocketed off 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 exchanges but started to settle as the set progressed. The Croatian started to find his places on serve, as he struck with more depth and pace on the ground to come back at 4-4. With a tie-break remaining to decide the first set, it was Coric who kicked into high gear, capitalizing on Tsitsipas’ untimely mistakes to lead.

After hitting 18 winners in the first set, the 25-year-old continued to look comfortable heading into the second set. Coric hit his tight groundstrokes with consistency on the return and earned the decisive break in game six of the set against a tiring Tsitsipas. The Croatian, who committed just 14 unforced errors, then fended off pressure from Tsitsipas on serve, before breaking again to claim the biggest victory of his career.

Coric looked to enter the baseline and attack Tsitsipas in the second set in a move that worked. As shown by his OVERVIEW: Conversion Ratethe Croatian was clinical, holding an 87% conversion rate, well above the Tour average of 66%.

<a href=The conversion scores of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Borna Coric in the second set of the Cincinnati final.” style=”width: 100%;” />

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Prior to his shoulder surgery in May 2021, Coric had won nine wins over Top 5 opponents and climbed to a career-high No. 12 in the world. The Croatian returned to Indian Wells in March and had lost 8 of his 13 tours. level matches in 2022 ahead of his dream run in Cincinnati.

Tsitsipas was aiming to win his third Masters 1000 title and his 10th trophy at tour level. The Greek, who retained the title in Monte Carlo in April, edged out Daniil Medvedev in a hard-fought semi-final victory and is up to 5th place in the Pepperstone ATP Live rankings.

The 24-year-old also moved up to second place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin as he seeks to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for a fourth consecutive season. He lifted the trophy in the season finale on his debut in 2019.

Did you know?
Coric is the first player to win a Masters 1000 title and an ATP Challenger Tour title in the same season since Mikael Pernfors in 1993. This has only happened three times since the ATP Masters 1000 debuted in as a series in 1990. [also Thomas Muster 1992]. Coric won a Challenger trophy in Parma, Italy in June.

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