Coric outlasts Tsitsipas in a Marathon
Croatia’s Borna Coric saved six match points to outlast the fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, 6/7(2); 6/4; 4/6; 7/5; 7/6(4) in four hours and 36 minutes. It was a major upset because Tsitsipas was a title prospect and one of the players who could prevent Djokovic from achieving his quest for a 17th Grand Slam title. The marathon battle ended at 06.30 in Nigeria.
Tsitsipas won the first set in a tiebreak by seven points to four. A single break of Tsitsipas’ serve gave Coric the second set 6/4 while his opponent took the third set by the same score. In the fourth set, Tsitsipas broke Coric’s serve in the ninth game and delivered three of his total 16 aces to reach 40-0. A defiant Coric cancelled three match points and took the game. He broke Tsitsipas’ serve in the twelfth game to win the set 7/5.
Coric was down 0-30 in the eighth game of the fifth set but battled back to win his serve level for four-all. The set progressed on serve to a tie break. Coric took the first point on serve but Stefanos’s second serve nipped the tape and bounced out for his second double fault in the match. Coric also suffered a mini-break when his forehand shot sailed past the baseline. Another Tsitsipas double-fault gave Coric a 4-2 lead at changeover. Tsitsipas reduced the tally but Coric took his two service points helped by a successful challenge. Tsitsipas took his fourth point but shanked a forehand to lose the set and match. Tsitsipas amassed a match total of 177 points to 173 by Coric who is seeded 27.
A disappointed Tsitsipas took off his shirt and attempted to leave the arena but was halted by an official demanding he wore a face mask. He could not find his own in the bag and was handed one.
After his victory, Coric said: “I was really lucky in the end. In the third and fourth sets, he was playing unbelievable tennis and I felt I had no chance. In the fifth set tiebreak, I knew it was not going to be easy for him, so I just tried to keep the ball in the court and make him play as many balls as possible.”
It was their second career meeting, following the 2018 Rome Masters in which Coric retired in the first round. Coric will face Australia’s Jordan Thompson in the fourth round.