Back from anonymity: Borna Coric and Caroline Garcia register historic wins in Cincinnati

Borna Coric and Caroline Garcia registered historic wins in Cincinnati in the men’s and women’s singles finals, respectively.

Garcia, 28, became the first qualifier to win a WTA 1000 title with her 6-2, 6-4 win against Petra Kvitova. No qualifier had won a WTA 1000 title since the tier was created in 2009. Garica, world number 35, is now set to storm back into top 20 rankings for the first time since 2017.

After getting through qualifying, Garcia beat three top-10-ranked opponents in Maria Sakkari, Aryna Sabalenka and Jessica Pegula, before another superb performance against Czech two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova.

In the men’s final, Coric, the world number 152, became the lowest-ranked player to claim a Masters Trophy. Borna Coric powered past fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6, 6-2 to win the Cincinnati Open on Sunday. The previous holder of the record was then-world number 143 Roberto Carretero of Spain, who won in Hamburg in 1996.

Coric’s tryst with injury

In 2014, Boran Coric was the youngest player in the Top 100 of the year-end ATP Rankings. The next year, he was the youngest player to make it into Top 50. He earned nine victories against Top 5 opponents and climbed to a career-high World No. 12.

But then he suffered a setback, in May 2021, he underwent shoulder surgery and missed more than a year.

Cut to the present, Borna Coric, at 152 in the world rankings, became the lowest-rank champion in the Cincinnati Open history.

After the win, emotional, Coric said he thought he might lose in the opening round.

“I was not ready for this speech five days ago – I thought I was going to lose in the first round,” said the Croat, who defeated his idol, Rafael Nadal, in the second round.

On the comeback trail after undergoing right shoulder surgery last year, Coric returned to the ATP Tour in March and after eight months on the sidelines was back in the winner’s circle claiming the biggest title of his career.

The 25-year-old Croatian mighe will be a dark horse contender at the US Open, when play gets underway at Flushing Meadows on August 29.

Coric’s dream ride at Cincinnati

🔴 Coric defeated Lorenzo Musetti 7-6(2), 6-3 in the opening round.

🔴 In the second round, he defeated Rafael Nadal 7-6 (9), 4-6, 6-3.

🔴 In the third round, he got the better of Robert Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-3 in straight sets.

🔴 In the quarters, he stunned world no 7, Felix Auger Aliassime 6-4, 6-4.

🔴In the semis, the Croats upstages British No 1 and world no 9 Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-4.

The title was the third of Coric’s career but his first since 2018 and will see him jump up the rankings to world number 29 on Monday and seeded at the US Open.

“I didn’t believe I was going to win the tournament,” Coric told a news conference after his victory.

“I never look too much forward.

“When I was in the semi-finals, obviously I know who I’m going to play in the final, because it’s not many matches. But in the first couple of rounds, I’m not really focused on the next round.

“I’m always focused on the round which I’m playing right now. I was just believing that I can win the next match. That’s what I did for five days in a row.”

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