Coric Cracks Quarter-final Milestone At US Open
After saving six match points to stun fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday, Borna Coric is striking the ball like a man who’s playing with house money.
The No. 27 seed produced his most dominant performance of the tournament on Sunday, pushing Jordan Thompson around the court to prevail 7-5, 6-1, 6-3 in Louis Armstrong Stadium. Coric broke new ground with his first quarter-final appearance at a Grand Slam.
“I started the match very good. From 5-3 [in the first set], I maybe choked a little bit, but that’s normal. This is the biggest chance in my career to get to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam,” Coric said on court after the match. “I was more relaxed after the first set and started to play much better.”
Coric has continued to thrive in New York. The 2013 boys’ singles champion reached the second week of a major for the first time at this event in 2018. The hard work on his fitness during the suspension of play has been evident, with two of Coric's wins this week ranking among the four longest matches this year (4h, 36m v Tsitsipas, 3R; 4h, 19m v Londero, 2R).
Although his results have been inconsistent at times, Coric’s game is capable of beating anyone when he’s on. He has nine wins over players inside the Top 5 of the FedEx ATP Rankings, including Dominic Thiem this January at the ATP Cup.
Coric will face Alexander Zverev for a place in the semi-finals after the fifth seed routed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina earlier in the day. Coric leads their ATP Head2Head series 3-1, including a second-round triumph at the 2017 US Open, but they haven’t faced off in more than two years.
“I was watching all of his matches [this week] and I thought he was playing some of his best tennis,” Coric said. “It’s going to be a very interesting match.”
The Croatian earned a quick break against Thompson at 1-1 in the opening set, but nerves came into play as he served for the set at 5-4 and he gifted the break back with a pair baseline errors. Coric immediately regrouped and broke to love in the next game, eventually grabbing the early lead with a big serve on his third set point.
The tension in Coric’s arms released after overcoming that mental hurdle and the 23-year-old further imposed himself in the baseline rallies. He went on a seven-game run en route to taking the second set as Thompson became increasingly frustrated with his opponent’s flawless baseline play.
Although Thompson continued to display his trademark fighting spirit and tirelessly retrieved balls, the Aussie lacked a powerful weapon to take control of points. Coric broke once more at 3-2 and fired a forehand winner on match point to advance after two hours and seven minutes. He finished the match with 30 winners, while Thompson was left to rue 36 unforced errors on the night.