NEW YORK, August 31, 2017
Former junior rivals Alexander Zverev and Borna Coric met in the second round of the US Open on Wednesday evening. As 16-year-olds, Zverev and Coric met at the 2013 US Open in a boys’ singles semi-final, won by the Croat 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 en route to the title. Coric rose to the top of the ITF Junior Circuit rankings in September 2013, but Zverev overtook him seven weeks later and ended the year as World No. 1. As 18-year-olds, Coric once again defeated Zverev in three sets at ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati.
As 20-year-olds, they returned to New York City, where Coric retained his unbeaten record against the German with a 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 upset on Grandstand. The Zagreb native withstood 22 aces, hitting five of his own. Zverev gained 12 more winners, but Coric produced 14 unforced errors less and won three points more in total to prevail after three hours and 26 minutes.
“I had a rough few months,” Coric said. “I was struggling with my neck injury. I was not really sure what it is. I didn’t play … So it does mean a lot definitely. It’s going to give me some extra confidence. But at the end of the day, it’s only a tennis match. [In a] day and a half I have another one. We will see.”
Next up for Coric will be Kevin Anderson from South Africa, who beat Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
Shapovalov Upsets Tsonga
Wednesday’s night session was headlined by 18-year-old Canadian qualifier Denis Shapovalov, who knocked out the tournament’s number eight Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Ahead of the second round encounter, the teenager was 5-1 in tour-level matches this month with all five wins over high-ranked opponents. He followed his dream run to the ATP Masters 1000 Montreal semi-finals with a first-round win over fellow #NextGenATP player Daniil Medvedev.
Shapovalov capitalized on three of his five break point chances and fired 28 winners to secure victory in two hours and 11 minutes.
“I played unbelievable today, very high level. I don’t know why, but I just managed to stay loose and go for my shots the whole match, except a little bit at 5-3 or 5-4, serving for the third set. I got a little bit tight, stopped moving my feet on a couple shots, sailed some forehands,” Shapovalov was pleased with his performance.
“So this win, it’s definitely another confidence boost. It shows that Montreal wasn’t a fluke week. To do it back-to-back, it’s not easy. I’ve had to go through qualifying, which is also stacked with super tough players.”
Shapovalov will next face Kyle Edmund of Great Britain, who edged past US-American Steve Johnson 7-5, 6-2, 7-6.