In one of the matches of the year, the Croatian Borna Coric edged 4th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in 5 high-quality sets in the third round of the US Open. The 23-year old, who also needed 5 sets to put away Juan Ignacio Londero in the 2nd round, beat Tstisipas with a scoreline of 6-7 6-4 4-6 7-5 7-6. He saved 6 match points against the Greek to reach his third career Round of 16 in a major.
Even though he has done relatively well against the big players in the Master Series, Coric is yet to play a Grand Slam quarterfinal in his career. However, these kinds of matches only mean progression if he wants to become mentally and physically competitive for the biggest prizes.
The match started very tight as neither player wanted to give any chances away to his opponent. Eventually, the set went to the tiebreaker. The 2019 World Tour Finals champion stood firm as he won the last 4 points of the breaker to have an early lead.
The Croatian took a medical timeout to receive medication on his neck and shoulder. It proved pivotal as Coric's first serve percentage improved. With his serve firm, he was able to take advantage of a slight blip from the former Australian Open semi-finalist to go up 5-4. He quickly served out the set to even the match.
Even though both traded breaks earlier on in the third set, the weight of Greek's strokes from the back of the court was proving too much for Coric as he wilted in the latter part of the set. Tsitsipas closed out the third set by 6-4.
The momentum from the third set was taken by Tsitsipas in the fourth set as he won 5 of the first 6 games and looked destined for victory. However, things changed from thereon. Even though the Greek blew up his first chance to serve out the match at 5-2, he had 2 match points to put away his opponent at 5-3. However, he couldn't convert.
Tsitsipas served for the match for the second time at 5-4 and had 4 more match points (3 in a row at 40/0) to reach the 4th round. However, he was against an inspired opponent as he resisted everything the 4th seed threw at him. A backhand error from Tsitsipas and we are back on serve at 5-5.
The momentum had completely shifted and Tsitsipas was left to wonder what actually had happened. At 6-5, Tsitsipas served to stay in the set this time. However, Coric was on cloud 9 and an astonishing forehand return leveled the match at 2 sets all. It is a shame that we didn't have the crowd to get into this match.
Both players traded breaks in the earlier part of the fifth set before the match went into the final set tiebreak at 6-6. Now, it was just the question of whose will is greater. Tsitsipas had only hit one double fault in the entire match leading up to that tiebreak. However, he hit 2 in that tiebreaker which proved pivotal. Coric raced to a 6-3 before finally closing out the match on his second match point after 4 hours and 36 minutes as Tsitsipas hit a forehand error.
The 27th seed now plays another inspired opponent, Australian Jordan Thompson who is enjoying his best result in a Grand Slam so far in his career. Both will clash for a place in their first Grand Slam quarterfinal.