Borna Coric continued his remarkable comeback from injury by securing the Western & Southern Open title, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Cincinnati final. The Croatian, who began the week with a world ranking of No 152, was joined in the winners’ circle by Caroline Garcia, who won the women’s title as a qualifier.
Returning after surgery on his right shoulder last year, Coric only returned to the ATP Tour in March. In the tournament via a protected ranking, the Croatian defeated Rafael Nadal, Félix Auger-Aliassime and Cameron Norrie on his run to the final, before a 7-6 (0), 6-2 victory over the fourth seed Tsitsipas on Sunday.
Tsitsipas had beaten the world No 1, Daniil Medvedev, in his semi-final and carried that momentum into the final, breaking Coric at the first opportunity on the way to a 4-1 lead. Coric broke back in the eighth game of the set as the first set went to a tie-break. The Greek double-faulted on the opening point and never recovered, his opponent taking the breaker 7-0.
Coric kept the world No 7 under pressure in the second set, Tsitsipas offering up another double-fault to hand his opponent another break. With dark storm clouds gathering, the underdog moved quickly to seal victory, holding and then breaking Tsitsipas again to close out the match.
His first ATP title since 2018 sees Coric jump up the rankings to No 29, and earn a seeding for the US Open, which starts on 29 August. “I didn’t believe I was going to win the tournament,” the 25-year-old Coric said.
“I never look too much forward. I’m always focused on the next round. I was just believing that I can win the next match. That’s what I did for five days in a row.”
“I think he was serving well,” Tsitsipas said. “He was making me move a lot. I could have used my chances in the first set. I don’t know why I didn’t. I rushed a little bit. He had a few good returns, and it cost me because that first set could have been very life-changing.”
In the earlier women’s final, Caroline Garcia continued her fine form with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Petra Kvitova. The French player’s third WTA title of the season moves her back into the world’s top 20, having returned to the Tour in May after a foot injury with a ranking of No 79.
In a final between two unseeded players, Garcia broke her Czech opponent in the first game and raced to a 4-0 lead before serving it out. The qualifier broke again in the first game of the second set, leading Kvitova to head off court for an injury timeout. She looked sharper after returning but could not break the Garcia serve.
“We made it clear which way I have to play, which direction I have to go,” Garcia said afterwards, referring to her new coach Bertrand Perret and her team. “When I step on court, I know what game style I have to play, and I know what I have to do, and always try to do it the best I can.”
In the last big tune-up event before Flushing Meadows next week, Garcia came through the qualifiers before taking down Maria Sakkari, Aryna Sabalenka and Jessica Pegula – all three ranked in the world’s top 10. The 28-year-old has also won a grass-court event in Bad Homburg and the Warsaw tournament on clay since her return.
“When I arrived on tour, I was definitely playing like that,” Garcia told reporters about her return to an attacking style. “That’s the way it was working for me. That’s the way I learned to play tennis. Sometimes I did doubt it, [and] did it kind of half-and-half, and it was not working anymore. I have to accept that it may not work every time.”