MARRAKECH, April 16, 2017
NextGenATP star Borna Coric mounted a stunning rally to claim his first ATP World Tour title, storming back from a set and a break down and saving five championship points to battle past Philipp Kohlschreiber in Sunday’s final of the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech.
Kohlschreiber led 3-0 in the second set and missed five match points. The German was also a break up in the third but Coric kept fighting until the end and eventually sealed victory in two hours and 38 minutes.
Coric, recipient of the 2014 ATP Star of Tomorrow Award, presented by Emirates, is the third first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this year, joining Gilles Muller (Sydney) and Ryan Harrison (Memphis).
The 20 year old Croat turned aside the most match points in a final since Andy Murray also denied five for the Valencia Open crown in 2014, beating Tommy Robredo
“I would say that’s my biggest comeback, I’ve never saved five match points,” said Coric. “Especially in such an important match, I served very well in the big points. It’s an awesome feeling. I didn’t know what to expect when I came here and I wasn’t in the best shape. But I’ve been working very hard the past three or four months and now it’s paying off.”
The Zagreb native is projected to soar from eighth to second place in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan. Coric earns €85,945 in prize money as well as 250 ATP ranking points.
“It’s one of those days where you have many good opportunities,” said Kohlschreiber, who was bidding for his eighth ATP World Tour crown in his 16th final. “It was a big fight and great drama in the end. Losing a match with match points and to be so close to the title is always very difficult. But it was a very good week for me. I played great tennis this week and I’m looking forward to more clay-court matches.”