October 15, 2018

Player Feature: Borna Coric crushes Federer in Shanghai Masters

From Forgotten Newcomer to Tennis Wonder Star

Full Name: Borna Coric

Birthdate: November 14, 1996

Place of Birth: Croatia

Playing Years: 2013 to present

Formative Years and Tennis Career:

Borna Coric turned pro in 2013, making his debut at the 2013 Davis Cup after he was included for Croatia’s World Group Play-off tie alongside Great Britain, immediately making his first best-of-five-set match against Andy Murray. He also won a title during the 2013 US Open junior tournament. In April 2014, he defeated World No. 21 Jerzy Janowicz during the opening match of the Davis Cup tie among Poland and Croatia. In July, during the first round of the clay court event where Coric was playing with a wildcard, he displayed a noteworthy performance, winning against seventh seed and world No. 46 Edouard Roger-Vasselin in a series of straight sets.

In August 2014, Borna Coric was able to qualify for the main draw during the 2014 US open, his first ever appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament. He stunned 29th seed Lukas Rosol in the first round in straight sets, eventually losing to Victor Estrella Burgos in the second round. He bagged his first ever ATP Challenger title, also entering the top 150 for the first time at just the age 17 years old at World No. 140.

In October, he received a wildcard for his performance in the Swiss Indoors, achieving his first victory against No. 13 Ernests Gulbis in a series of straight sets. In the quarterfinals, he recorded the biggest victory of his youth career, overpowering World No. 3 Rafael Nadal. His impressive performance propelled him into the World’s Top 100 for the first time at No. 93, becoming the youngest player to do so since Rafael Nadal himself in 2003. He spent the season displaying a series of remarkable performance, also ending the season with the ATP Star of Tomorrow award for being the youngest player included in the top 100.

In the 2015 season, the Croatian national received his first direct entry for the main draw of a Grand Slam competition. In February, he appeared in his second ATP 500 semifinals, beating World No. 3 Andy Murray in straight sets during the quarterfinals, earning his second win against a top 5 player. The next month, he made his ATP Masters 1000 debut in Indian wells, coming out victorious in two qualifying matches and reaching the second round. He also made it to the third round in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time at the 2015 French Open, beating Sam Querrey and 18th seed Tommy Robredo before losing to Jack Sock. He accomplished his first grass court victory in the first round at Halle against Donald Young.

His impressive display of performance gave him a boost to reach his then career high of World No. 33 in the ATP rankings. In September, he won another ATP Challenger, also claiming two singles victories for Croatia during the 2015 Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie alongside Brazil. He finished the 2015 season placed at World No. 44.

In 2017, Coric achieved his first ATP title after coming back from a set to dominate Philipp Kohlschreiber in three sets. He went on to defeat then No. 1 Andy Murray for the third time at the 2017 Madrid Open, claiming his first win against a World No. 1 player. During the second round of the US Open, he recorded the greatest victory of his career at a Grand Slam level where he defeated 4th seed Alexander Zverev. Coric was able to qualify for the Next Generation ATP Finals after he was included in the top seven in the race to Milan.

In the 2018 Davis Cup Finals last February, Coric led Croatia once again to the quarterfinals after beating Vasek Pospisil and Denis Shapovalov. The following month, he achieved his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal in the Indian Wells, eventually beaten by Roger Federer. His impressive performance was followed by another stunning showcase in the Miami Open, however, he lost to Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals. In Halle, he was able to overpower Zverev and Federer, achieving his second career title and his first victory on grass court. In July 2018, he rose into the ATP World Top 20 rankings for the first time in his career.

Although he was unsuccessful in reaching the quarterfinals in seven of his previous competitions, he broke his drought in the recently concluded 2018 Shanghai Masters by reaching the finals, crushing reigning champion and top seed Roger Federer in the semifinals, before bowing out to Novak Djokovic in the final. His stunning performance in Shanghai launched him to a career high rank of World No. 13 in the ATP rankings.

By @EliaasMJ

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