Chennai Open: Coric overcomes Granollers challenge

With unforced errors and weaker serves, Coric lost the second set tamely, but then came back rejuvenated to break his opponent in the final set, and this eventually sealed the match.

Borna Coric overcame Marcel Granollers in a game that lasted two hours and 31 minutes.   -  K. V. Srinivasan

In a battle between two evenly matched players, evidence of which was seen in the lengthy match of three sets, 19-year old Borna Coric made use of a crucial tiebreak win and a late surge to defeat Marcel Granollers 7-6, 6-2, 6-4.

The two players slugged it out from the baseline and for much of the contest, there was little to choose between them. With unforced errors and weaker serves, Coric lost the second set tamely, but then came back rejuvenated to break his opponent in the final set, and this eventually sealed the match.

That there was little to choose between the players was suggested by their lengthy points, including one lasting 24 shots in the third set. Having slogged to gain two match points, at 5-4, in the third set, Coric was made to commit errors in fierce rallies to give Granollers a break point. The game oscillated from one side to the other, before another prospective long rally was cut short by Coric by his arrival at the net and the match was clinched. It had lasted two hours and 31 minutes.

But Coric may not have had to wait for this long had he been tighter in the second set. He won less than half of his first serves in the set, and failed to convert any of the four break points he had gained. Granollers, on the other hand, was more aggressive than his opponent, broke him twice. It seemed frustration had set in for Coric, some of which may have been because of the heat.

But he left all of it behind in the final set. Amid a plethora of forehand and backhand shots from the baseline, he got the crucial break that eventually proved decisive. Towards the climax, he seemed to possess renewed power, in his serves as well as strokes, to literally overpower Granollers.

In the second round, Coric will play the winner of the first-round match between Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek. He needs a decent rest before that.

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