Aircel Chennai Open 2016: Borna Coric beats Marcel Granollers
What looked like a challenging opener for young Croatian ace Borna Coric played out as much, as it took him three sets and a good two-and-a-half hours to overcome his first round opponent, Marcel Granollers of Spain, 7-6 2-6 6-4.
Granollers, a former semi-finalist at the Aircel Chennai Open, played his part at the stubborn challenger to perfection as he stuck to his game, while Coric began to fritter. The 8th seed eventually found his nerve to recover and take the match in the third.
The opening set was tight, with Granollers not giving anything away. In what was overall a scrappy match, Granollers and Coric traded mini-breaks in the tie break. Coric was the first to build on it, eking out the set in the process.
The Spaniard, 10 years Coric's senior, seemed to not be disturbed by the loss of the tight first set, and was very much still fighting while Coric's level looked to have dropped a little. Evidence of this was in the numerous errors that the 19-year-old Croatian began to spray off his racquet, especially off the forehand wing. The errors led to frustration for Coric that affected his game further.
The veteran took advantage, breaking Coric twice in the second and eighth games to comfortably win the second set and level proceedings. There was a break in play after the second as Coric opted for a bathroom break.
Five minutes later, Coric emerged to play much better, breaking early in the third game to arrest the loss of momentum. He earned three breakpoints at 0-40 on the Granollers serve, the first of which was saved. Coric converted on the second one though when Granollers dumped a forehand into the net.
That seemed to spur him on and he looked like the player he was in the first set again. The errors now began to creep into the normally solid Granollers as he was unable to take the chances offered to break back by Coric.
With Coric looking confident and playing well, the seventh game presented Granollers with a chance to break back, rather against the run of play as Coric dropped to 0-30 thanks to two unforced errors. Granollers though couldn't take advantage as Coric roared back with the help of some good serving.
Coric stepped up to serve it out, but it proved to be anything but straightforward. Granollers did what he does best and played solid, forcing errors out of the Coric game. The Croat in the end emerged, thumping his chest in celebration at the end of a struggle of a match.