Borna Coric stuns Stefanos Tsitsipas to win fairytale title at Cincinnati Masters
Borna Coric capped off a fairytale week by stunning Stefanos Tsitsipas to lift the Cincinnati title and become the lowest-ranked Masters 1000 champion in history.
The Croatian, who arrived in Ohio sitting at 152 on the ATP ladder and in a protected ranking, chained his stunning triumphs over Rafael Nadal, Roberto Bautista Agut, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Briton Cameron Norrie by beating the lead serial No. 4 7- 6(0) 6-2 in one hour and 55 minutes.
It is Coric’s third ATP title and his first at this level after losing his only previous Masters final to Novak Djokovic in Shanghai in 2018. It also sees the former world No. 12 become the fourth Croatian man to be crowned Masters. 1000 champion as his return from a long-term injury gains momentum.
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When asked how he achieved this historic feat, Coric told Amazon Prime, “I’m not sure I’m being honest. As I’ve said many times this week, I’m not there. came in with a lot of confidence. I wasn’t playing my best tennis and I was struggling. I just went game by game and that’s how I did it.
Coric managed just nine games in 2021 following right shoulder surgery and it had been a largely disappointing season until he took down 22-time Grand Slam champion Nadal early this season. week.
The new Croatian No.2 admitted the second-round win over the Spaniard was the catalyst but suggested staying grounded was key to what followed. He added: “I’ve had the experience of beating great players and then losing the next day. So I was very calm and focused. I knew it wasn’t the end of the tournament and I wanted to stay calm and focused. and I think that’s what I did.
The 25-year-old continued to roll back the years as he went through the sets, but it was Tsitsipas who got off to the best start in the final, dictating and dominating the rallies with compound but hard-hitting forehands. The No. 4 seed appeared to be in complete control as he landed an instant break, dropping just two points as he took a 3-0 lead.
Coric was firmly on the back foot but managed to weather the storm before coming back on his third chance in game 7 as he ruthlessly exhibited the Greek’s serve and volley tactics.
The Croatian, who will become the world No. 29 following his run in Cincinnati, then survived three break points to dig in a long hold and level the set at 4-4.
There was a fiery atmosphere in the contest which only intensified as the stakes in the first set rose, with both players shooting steely glares through the net as they battled for a tie -break. Tsitsipas opened with a double fault and crumbled from there as Coric ran through the circuit breaker 7-0 to pinch the first set in an hour and two minutes.
Coric continued to look the more focused and determined of the two players as he produced a dogged 0-40 hold to gain the scoreboard advantage early in set 2.
The Croatian saw three break points saved in Game 4 but finally got his reward for his continued pressure on the return when Tsitsipas double faulted to give him a 4-2 lead.
The Greek, who will now move up to fifth in the standings, fought hard in the following match as they fought back 40-0 to test Coric’s mettle in a long two-man showdown. However, the underdog remained defiant and managed to consolidate before breaking again on his second match point to secure the biggest victory of his career.
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