Chennai Open: Coric eases past Krajicek

He will play either Roberto Bautista-Agut or John Millman in the quarter-final.

Borna Coric moved Krajicek around the court amid scorching strokes to clinch the winning point.   -  M. Prabhu

Sharpness in stroke-making and consistency in serves were pillars on which Borna Coric got past his American opponent, Austin Krajicek, who put up a sterner resistance in the second set but could not avoid the match-clinching break. Levelled at 5-5, Coric’s strong defensive play contributed to Krajicek’s first loss of service game in a tight second set, and despite testing the former in the ensuing game, the ATP World No. 83, just delayed the inevitable.

Coric moved Krajicek around the court amid scorching strokes to clinch the winning point, an appropriate way to round off the 6-2, 7-5 win.

Krajicek had been put under pressure from the start of the contest, as Coric broke him in the very first game of the match. Two more breaks were taken in a one-sided first set, as Coric not only served well but also repeatedly made his shots and reprieves touch the baseline, a feature that would continue through the match and help him undo his opponent.

Krajicek had been at the advantageous positions in rallies a few times, but many times did not capitalise on them due to unforced errors. His attempts to arrive at the net did not prove particularly successful, for he provided easy retrieval opportunities to Coric.

He served better in the second set, and went neck-and-neck until the 11th game. He became sharper in his strokeplay to hold three service games with ease, but was close to being broken in the seventh game. He made three unforced errors to go 0-40 down: he hit two balls long and missed the line in going for a winner. But a flurry of powerful serves helped him survive the scare and hold.

Coric’s persistence, however, paid off as he got the required break to pocket the set, and with it, the match. Even in this more even set, he was far better in winning his first and second serve points.

The crowd had been taking Coric’s name, too, and he didn’t disappoint. He will play either Roberto Bautista-Agut or John Millman in the quarter-final.