Borna Coric continues his bid for a first ATP title of the season on Friday night when he takes on Alex de Minaur in the Zhuhai Championships quarter-finals.
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Fourth seed Borna Coric squares off against seventh seed Alex de Minaur with a spot in the Zhuhai Championships semi-finals on the line on Friday night.
Coric, who made the St. Petersburg final last week, enjoyed a bye in the opening round of Zhuhai before earning a comfortable 6-3 6-3 win over Chinese wildcard Di Wu on Thursday. The Croatian needed three sets to win all of his matches last week in St. Petersburg against Marton Fucsovics, Casper Ruud and Joao Sousa before falling to the on-fire Daniil Medvedev 3-6 1-6, so a straight sets victory is exactly what Coric would have wanted as he strives for a first title of the year this week.
The 22-year-old has endured a tough 2019 season through injury and also a coaching change that has seen him split with Riccardo Piatti and Kristijan Schneider – the men that guided him through his career-best 2018 season, where he beat Roger Federer to win his biggest title at the 500-level event in Halle last year and also defeated Federer once more as he made his first Masters 1000 final in Shanghai, with a semi-final in Indian Wells and quarter-final in Miami helping him finish 2018 at a career-high No. 12 in the world.
Now working with former Croatian pro Antonio Veic, Coric has hung around that mark for most of the year due to his Shanghai points, but he hasn’t been able to replicate his 2018 level, registering a 26-16 record before this tournament, failing to make a final before last week in St. Petersburg and withdrawing from the U.S. Open with a back injury. With Coric risking a drop outside the top 20 as he attempts to defend his Shanghai runner-up points in a couple of weeks, the Croatian could use a title and the 250 points that come with it this week. Can he make the semi-finals on Friday night?
Alex De Minaur (PA Images)
He will have to battle his way past Alex de Minaur to do so. The Australian has also had some tough moments with injury in 2019, but he’s back playing some of his best tennis over the last couple of months, with his latest result coming in the form of a three-set win over former World No. 1 Andy Murray in the second round of Zhuhai on Thursday. After dropping just four games against compatriot John Millman in the first round, de Minaur was pushed to the brink by Murray as the Scot played the best match of his singles comeback from hip resurfacing surgery, but the younger Aussie had a bit more left in the tank at the end of a gruelling encounter, with de Minaur completing a 4-6 6-2 6-4 win in two hours and 42 minutes.
After a superb breakout season in 2018, de Minaur has continued to progress in 2019 despite various injury problems, with the 20-year-old winning his first two ATP titles in Sydney and Atlanta, while he also reached the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time at the U.S. Open when he beat Kei Nishikori (his first win over a top 20 player) before going down to Grigor Dimitrov. Perhaps a third title of the year is on the horizon for de Minaur in Zhuhai this week?
This will be the first career meeting between the pair, and I think a three-setter is on the cards. Coric loves going the distance, while de Minaur is a similar sort of grinder from the baseline, so expect to see a lot of long rallies and energy-sapping points. This clash is a toss-up for me – both men are coming back from injury problems and in similar sort of form, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this went right down to the wire.
Coric vs de Minaur ATP Zhuhai live streaming, preview and tips – Young guns clash for semi-final spot in Zhuhai
Borna Coric continues his bid for a first ATP title of the season on Friday night when he takes on…
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