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Coric vs Berdych ATP Dubai Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Can young gun, Coric get his first victory over Berdych?

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 27 Feb 2019
  • Borna Coric vs Tomas Berdych is live from Dubai on Wednesday, 27 February from 8:30pm local time/ 4:30pm GMT
  • Berdych leads 3-0 on head-to-head
Borna Coric. (Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)

Borna Coric and Tomas Berdych go head-to-head on Wednesday as they battle for a spot in the quarter finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. 

For Coric, this is only his third tournament of the season, as he didn't play at all before the Australian Open, opting instead to arrive Melbourne early to prepare for the first Grand Slam of the year, while he competed in just one tournament during the European indoor hard court swing, in Marseille, where he was beaten by Ugo Humbert in the first round.

There appears to be an attempt to cut down on the tournaments and focus on big ones as the Croatian progresses in his career.

His decision to arrive at the Australian Open early certainly paid dividends, as he transformed a prior 0-4 record in Melbourne into a fourth-round run, beating Steve Darcis, Marton Fucsovics and Filip Krajinovic before losing to Lucas Pouille in four sets. 

Coric is looking to build on a career-best 2018, when he claimed his biggest title at the ATP 500 tournament in Halle, beating Roger Federer no less, made his maiden Masters 1000 final in Shanghai (beat Federer in the semi-finals before falling to Novak Djokovic), and another Masters 1000 semi-final at Indian Wells- all of which contributed immensely to his season-ending ranking of No. 12.

The world No. 13 is making his fourth trip to Dubai, and has built up a 7-3 record at the tournament, reaching the semi-finals in his debut appearance in 2015, where, as a prodigious teenager, he famously took out Andy Murray before losing to Roger Federer. Coric made the quarter finals last season, beating Richard Gasquet and Benoit Paire, and falling to eventual champion, Roberto Bautista-Agut.

The 22-year-old didn't have things all his way in his opening match on Tuesday as he took on Czech, Jiri Vesely. Coric had beaten Vesely in straight sets at the same stage in 2016, but Tuesday's rematch was more complicated, with the Croatian requiring a final set tie break to see off the left-hander 7-5 3-6 7-6 after two hours and 50 minutes. He'll return to the court on Wednesday to take on Tomas Berdych in his bid for a first quarter final of the season.

Tomas Berdych. (Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)
Berdych, on the other hand, has already made quite a few quarter finals in a resurgent campaign. While Coric was charging through the top 20 in 2018, Berdych was cascading out of the top 70 as he watched helplessly with a back injury leaving him sidelined from the action in the second half of last season. The former top-ten mainstay ended the year at the very unfamiliar spot of 71st in the rankings. 

Berdych has set about making amends for the lost time in impressive fashion this season, opening the year with a fine runner-up finish in Doha in his first tournament back, and reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open, beating seeded players, Kyle Edmund and Diego Schwartzman before losing to Rafael Nadal. That was followed by a semi-final run in Montpellier before his first below par tournament of the season in Rotterdam (relative to what he had done all year), where he was beaten in the second round by Denis Shapovalov. He was stretched to three sets by Belarusian lucky loser, Ilya Ivashka in his Dubai opener on Tuesday, but like Coric, he came through in a final set tie break, winning 6-4 4-6 7-6 after two and a half hours.

Berdych has been a consistent performer in Dubai over the years- he made the finals in 2013 (lost to Novak Djokovic) and 2014 (lost to Roger Federer), while he made the quarter finals or better for six consecutive seasons between 2011 and 2016. That sequence was broken in 2017, when he crashed to a second-round loss to Robin Haase. He did not play the event last season.

Can he take down Borna Coric on Wednesday to return to the Dubai quarter finals?

The former world No. 4 has won all three previous meetings with Coric, dropping just one set in the process, but their most recent encounter was in 2016, and a lot has changed in the last couple of years. Berdych isn't the top-ten force he used to be, while Coric is a lot more mature, both physically and emotionally, and has made that transition from being a talented teenager to a proper top player, seemingly on his way to the top-ten. However, the dynamics have again been altered again by their respective starts to the 2019 season, with a resurgent Berdych racking up the wins- he's 12-4 for the year, and Coric, rather biding his time at 4-2 in 2018.

I do think if Coric finds his best form- the sort of which we saw at Indian Wells and Shanghai last year- he will be too tough for Berdych, but it's been a sketchy campaign from the Croatian so far. Berdych has played a lot more, and has played a lot better; add to that the head-to-head, and the powerful Czech could be set for another big win on Wednesday. 

Borna Coric vs Tomas Berdych is live from Dubai on Wednesday, 27 February from 8:30pm local time/ 4:30pm GMT

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Coric vs Berdych ATP Dubai Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Can young gun, Coric get his first victory over Berdych?

Borna Coric targets his first victory over Tomas Berdych on Wednesday as they meet in the second round in Dubai. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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