Borna Coric (CRO) def  Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 57 62 76(8)
Borna Coric and Pablo Carreno Busta set the tone for Day-2 of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2018. In a match that lasted over 2-and-a-half hours, Coric emerged with the upset, earning the win 10-8 in a deciding tie-break.
The two had played just once before, three years ago in Auckland’s 1st-round. Back then, World #49 Carreno Busta dropped World #90 Coric in straight sets. On Tuesday, World #48 Coric earned his 7th career top-10 win.
Never. Give. Up. – until – Game. Set. Match.
Coric refused to fade. Even when unforced errors cost him dearly, he kept battling. He singular focus was on every POINT, rather than every game. Halfway through set-1, he gave up the first break with a double fault. Three games later, with Carreno Busta serving for the set, Coric earned the break back. Clutch. But Carreno Busta responded in kind, and served it out from 0-30 down.
Level at 2-all in the second, Pablo took a rare mental vacation. Coric started collecting points at the net, with some stellar, aggressive volleys. Borna won four straight games to force the decider.
In the third, Carreno Busta gained the early edge, breaking Coric in game-1. Again, Borna settled-in to a determined grind. Remarkably, down 4-5, Coric broke the World #10 again while Pablo was serving for the match…and AGAIN, the US Open Semifinalist broke Borna right back. (First set deja vu). Serving for the match a second time, Pablo felt the pressure. Coric took advantage, and earned his 5th break of the match to force the tiebreak – where he saved three match points en route to the victory.
Up Next: Nikoloz Basilashvili, who won his 1st-Round match on Monday
Borna and Nikoloz played twice last year. Basilashvili won both matches. The Georgian won a 3-set 1st-Round clash at Lyon, then defeated Coric in a second set tiebreak at the Cincinnati Masters. A 3-time top-10 slayer last year, Borna will have to harness the focus and determination he uses against the sport’s elite to earn his first win against a tricky opponent ranked just inside the top-60. The two will go to work in the first match on Court-2 Wednesday.
AFTER A SLOW-START TO THE 2017-SEASON, THIS 21-YEAR-OLD TURNED UP THE HEAT LAST APRIL. IN MIAMI, HE EARNED HIS 4TH CAREER TOP-10 WIN, DEFEATING DOMINIC THIEM AT THE MASTERS-1000 EVENT IN MIAMI. TWO WEEKS LATER, HE EARNED HIS FIRST CAREER TOUR-LEVEL TITLE IN MARRAKECH, SAVING FIVE CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS TO EARN THE TITLE OVER PHILIP KOHLSCHREIBER. THEN IN MAY’S MASTERS-1000 EVENT IN MADRID, AS A LUCKY LOSER – HE DEFEATED WORLD #1 ANDY MURRAY EN-ROUTE TO THE QUARTERFINALS – BECOMING THE FIRST LUCKY LOSER TO DEFEAT A WORLD #1 IN OVER 10-YEARS. AT THE US OPEN, HE EARNED HIS 3RD TOP-10 WIN OF THE SEASON, DEFEATING WORLD #6 ALEXANDER ZVEREV TO REACH THE 3RD ROUND; AND FINISHED 2017 WITH A SEMIFINAL RUN AT THE NEXT GEN ATP FINALS IN MILAN. RANKED AS HIGH AS #33 IN THE WORLD, HE HELPED LIFT CROATIA TO THE DAVIS CUP WORLD GROUP FINAL IN 2016…AND IS COMPETING IN HIS FIRST QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN. FROM CROATIA, PLEASE WELCOME WORLD #48 – BORNA CORIC
Pablo Carreno Busta
THIS 26-YEAR-OLD OWNS 3 ATP WORLD TOUR SINGLES TITLES AND COMES INTO THE NEW YEAR AFTER A BREAKTHROUGH SEASON IN 2017. FIRST, HE REACHED HIS MAIDEN ATP-500 FINAL AT THE RIO OPEN, BROKE INTO THE TOP-20 WITH HIS FIRST CAREER MASTERS-1000 SEMIFINAL RUN AT INDIAN WELLS, WON THE TITLE IN ESTORIL, THEN REACHED HIS FIRST MAJOR QUARTERFINAL AT ROLAND GARROS; WHERE HE EARNED HIS FIRST CAREER WIN OVER A TOP-10 PLAYER – DEFEATING MILOS RAONIC IN THE ROUND OF 16. IN SEPTEMBER, HE ADVANCED TO HIS FIRST GRAND SLAM SEMIFINAL, BLASTING THROUGH THE US OPEN DRAW WITHOUT DROPPING A SET…AND BY YEAR’S END, MADE HIS DEBUT AT THE YEAR-END CHAMPIONSHIP ATP FINALS IN LONDON, STEPPING-IN AS AN ALTERNATE. HE STARTED 2017 AS THE #30 PLAYER IN THE WORLD – AND ENTERS 2018 WITH A CAREER-HIGH RANKING OF WORLD #10. COMPETING IN HIS 2ND QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN – FROM SPAIN, PLEASE WELCOME – PABLO CARRENO BUSTA