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Coric completes improbable Cincinnati run with title, beating Tsitsipas

Borna Coric is a Masters 1000 champion for the first time after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Cincinnati final on Sunday. At No 152 in the world going into the week, Coric will be seeded at the US Open.

Borna Coric, Cincinnati 2022 Borna Coric, Cincinnati 2022 – AI / Reuters / Panoramic

From a ranking of No 152 in the world to being seeded at the US Open…. That is the meteoric path that Borna Coric is taking.

Coric captured the biggest title of of his career on Sunday afternoon, his first at the Masters 1000 level, by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(0), 6-2 in the final of the Western & Southern Open. The Croat triumphed after one hour and 57 minutes of play.

In the second set I thought I played the best set of the whole year.

Borna Coric

Coric had been dominating most of his Cincinnati opponents, but the fourth-seeded Tsitsipas did not make it easy for the underdog. The Greek raced to a 4-1 lead in the opening set before Coric started to get on track. A break back gave the protected-ranking entry momentum heading into the tiebreaker, which he swept seven points to zero.

From there Coric did not look back, rolling through the second set with the loss of only two games.

“It was a very, very tough match,” Coric assured. “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. Then in the second set I thought I played the best set of the whole year.”

Coric’s best week in years ends with first Masters 1000 title

Coric’s Cincinnati success came pretty much completely out of nowhere. He was sidelined by shoulder surgery from February of 2021 until March of 22 and since his return had won only four of 12 matches in the main draw of tour-level events.

That all changed this week, as Coric reeled off victories over Lorenzo Musetti, Rafael Nadal, Roberto Bautista Agut, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Cameron Norrie before beating Tsitsipas. Nadal, whom Coric upset 7-6(8), 4-6, 6-3 in the second round, was the only opponent to even take a set throughout the entire tournament.

On Monday, Coric will climb from outside the top 150 to inside the top 30. With the US Open draw being made later in the week, the 25-year-old will be seeded at the year’s fourth and final Grand Slam.

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