Borna Coric waited nearly four years to reach his third ATP Masters 1000 semi-final. It’s no surprise he was able to handle a further delay of a few hours on a rainy Saturday at the Western & Southern Open.
But the Croatian didn’t take long once he got on court, cruising past Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-4 in just over 90 minutes to advance to his second Masters 1000 final. Back in top form following shoulder surgery, Coric will face World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev or fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas as he bids for his first title at that prestigious level.
“It was a very tough day, a very long day as well,” the former World No. 12 said post-match. “I didn’t expect to play at 7:30. I came here at 3 o’clock and I thought I was going to play a little bit earlier. Then I thought I was going to play later because of the delay.
“It was a crazy day but in the end it did finish very good. I was obviously very happy with my tennis today, I was playing extremely well.”
Originally scheduled as a daytime match on centre court, Coric and Norrie instead walked onto the Grandstand just after 7:30 p.m. in Cincinnati as the schedule shifted in response to the rain. Norrie started brightly under the lights as he built a 3-1 lead in the opening set, but Coric snapped into gear to win five straight games and run away with the set.
“At the beginning I was not there, I was not feeling the ball very well,” the Croatian said. “Then I did find my rhythm. I started to serve better, I started to play much better and I think that was the key to the match.”
The Croatian did what Carlos Alcaraz could not do consistently enough against Norrie in the quarter-finals by bullying his opponent in the rallies, and he did not let up in the second set as he won eight straight points to surge ahead 4-2.
Coric’s baseline brilliance made up for a 43 per cent first-serve percentage, and he saved the lone break point against him in the second set before dropping just three points in his final four service games.
While the Croatian did not repeat his near-perfect quarter-final performance on first-serve, when he won 31 of 32 points against Felix Auger-Aliassime, he won a healthy 79 per cent of the exchanges behind his first delivery against Norrie. He finished the match with 22 winners, including seven aces.
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Having entered the Cincinnati main draw with a protected ranking, Coric has soared 104 places to No. 48 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings this week. He could reach as high as No. 29 with a victory on Sunday against Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Croatian leads Medvedev 4-2 their ATP Head2Head series and is level with Tsitsipas at 1-1, including a fifth-set tie-break win in their most recent meeting at the 2020 US Open.
Coric has dropped just one set this week, in his second-round upset of Rafael Nadal.
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