Tennis News • Coric snatches unlikely Cincinnati Masters 1000 title by beating Tsitsipas in final


Borna Coric defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas to win Cincinnati. Photo credit: Western & Southern Open Facebook

By Ricky Dimon

Borna Coric is the Masters 1000 champion.

It wouldn’t have seemed unlikely in, say, 2018 – when he rose to No. 12 in the world and finished second at a Masters in Shanghai. As the 2022 Western & Southern Open approached, it would have seemed impossible to say that on Sunday.

Coming completely out of nowhere, Coric – ranked 152nd and playing Cincinnati on a protected ranking – clinched the title with a 7-6(0), 6-2 win over Tsitsipas in the final. The 25-year-old was trailing by a break early in the first set but mostly dominated the rest of the game to triumph after an hour and 57 minutes.

“It kinda sucks,” said Tsitsipas, who is now 9-13 in ATP Finals and has lost three this year to go along with three wins. “I hope I can come back here and win one day. It’s definitely not stifling (in the final); I happen to play robots every time.

“Borna, congratulations,” continued the Greek, seventh. “You kicked my ass the last two times, good for you.” Keep working hard; it’s what you do best. You have proven yourself time and time again. Also an amazing comeback from your injury; congratulations on coming back so strong and proving you’re up there with us.

Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece reacts. EPA-EFE/JAMES ROSS

Coric isn’t quite on par with Tsitsipas near the top of the standings, but he will drop from 152nd to 29th on Monday. This means he will be seeded at the US Open, as the draw for the final Grand Slam of the year will be released next week.

“No, no, absolutely not,” Coric replied when asked if he understood. “I still don’t know about it. It was a very, very hard game. At the beginning I wasn’t playing very well and he was pushing me very hard. I started to serve better, I started to play a lot , much better and I was fighting very hard.In the second set I thought I had played the best set of the year.

“I wasn’t ready for this speech five days ago, to be honest,” the 25-year-old added at the awards ceremony. “I thought I was going to lose in the first round.”

But Coric did not lose to Lorenzo Musetti in the first round. He didn’t even lose to Rafael Nadal in the second round. Coric then followed up that shocking result with victories over Roberto Bautista Agut, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Cameron Norrie before beating Tsitsipas. Nadal was the only opponent to even manage to take a set.

“I have no words,” Coric concluded. “It’s just an amazing feeling…. I thought I could play well. I trained hard and I knew I could play good tennis. But that I could play at that level of tennis, I just wasn’t aware.

Nobody else either.

Ricky contributes to and also runs its own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.

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