Borna Coric said beating Rafael Nadal was the key to his Cincinnati triumph and added he was glad with how he reacted after pulling off such a big win. After beating Lorenzo Musetti in his Cincinnati opener, Coric pulled off a stunning 7-6 (9) 4-6 6-3 victory over 22-time Grand Slam champion Nadal.
Coric then went all the way in Cincinnati as he also defeated Roberto Bautista Agut, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Cameron Norrie and Stefanos Tsitsipas. “Beating Nadal was decisive, I realized now was the right time to show what I had learned over the past few years.
Beating a player like that can make you slack off but I knew how to approach the next match,” Coric said, per We Are Tennis.
Nadal congratulated Coric
Nadal, who was forced to retire his Wimbledon semifinal due to an abdominal injury, returned to action last week in Cincinnati.
Nadal clearly wasn’t nowhere near his best in his first match but didn’t want to take anything away from Coric. After the match, Nadal admitted that Coric was the better player. “Obviously I didn’t play my best match, something that can happen,” Nadal told reporters.
“So coming back from a tough period of time, something that’s easy to accept and easy to say congrats to Borna that he played better. I need to improve. I need to practice. I need to return better. I need days, and that’s the truth.
It’s obvious that I was not ready enough to win the match today. (It) has been a difficult injury to manage. The last month and a half haven’t been easy.” Coric, who underwent a shoulder surgery in May 2021, returned to action this past March.
Coric entered Cincinnati using a protected ranking and the rest is history as the Croatian became the lowest-ranked player in tournament history. Coric, who is now the 27th-ranked player in the world, was the 152nd-ranked player last week.