STARNBERG/VIENNA, October 28, 2020
Novak Djokovic continued his quest for a record-tying sixth year-end No. 1 ranking following a 7-6(11), 6-3 win over Borna Coric of Croatia on Wednesday in the second round of the Erste Bank Open. The 33-year-old Serbian will clinch the year-end No. 1 ranking this week if he wins the Vienna title. Otherwise, it remains possible that World No. 2 Rafael Nadal ends the year as No. 1 if the Spaniard takes a wild card into the ATP 250 event in Sofia next month.
“Of course, that was one of the big reasons why I came to Vienna. And I’m going to try to obviously win as many matches as possible,” Djokovic said in Austria. “I know I need a couple of matches to end up, as you know, No. 1 of the world in this season. And hopefully I’ll be able to do that. You know, that’s definitely one of the big goals.”
Against Coric, Djokovic saved all three break points he faced and capitalized on two of his own six break point chances to prevail after two hours and seven minutes.
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“It was very tiring and very challenging. Obviously Borna is a great fighter. He’s a very good friend of mine. Off the court we’ve known each other for quite a long time,” Djokovic said after his win. “He has kind of a similar style of tennis as I do. From the backhand corner [he’s] very solid [and he is] trying to create points with his forehand. He was serving very well, especially in the first set. It was very difficult for me to return his serve.”
The top seed of the ATP 500 tournament will take on either Hubert Hurkacz of Poland or Italian lucky loser Lorenzo Sonego in the quarterfinals.
In first-round action, Jannik Sinner emerged victorious from the battle of the young guns beating 21-year-old Casper Ruud from Norway 7-6(2), 6-3. The Italian teenager, reigning Next Gen ATP Final champion, won 55 per cent of the total points played to advance in one hour and 44 minutes. Sinner will next play red-hot Russian Andrey Rublev.
No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece defeated Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4 to face Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria in the next round. No. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev also advanced after a comfortable 6-3, 6-1 win over Jason Jung from Chinese Taipei. Next up for Medvedev will be Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil, who knocked out compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime7-5, 7-5.