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Borna Coric moves into quarterfinals of Aircel Chennai Open 2016

Coric will play tournament fourth seed Roberto Bautista-Agut in the quarterfinals.

Borna Coric Aircel Chennai Open 2016
Teenage sensation Coric aims for a finals finish against Stan Wawrinka

A final clash against ‘Stan the Man’ his goal, Croatia’s Borna Coric has been talking it up in the lead up to the 2016 Aircel Chennai Open. He took another small step towards that by moving into the quarterfinals with a 6-2 7-5 win over American Austin Krajicek here at the SDAT Tennis Stadium in Chennai.

In a match that was a substantially easier test than his opener, Coric, the eighth seed at this year’s tournament, won in straight sets, looking comfortable for the most part, in a match that ran an hour and a half long. Coric served exceptionally well in this match, his delivery fetching him good returns (80% of points won on first serve, 83% on second serve), as he outclassed the 83rd ranked Krajicek.

Coric was on the front foot from the get-go, breaking Krajicek in the first game of the match, the break brought about by two pulsating down the line winners, first off the backhand, then off the forehand. Coric’s serve helped him stay ahead through the rest of the set and the Croatian also seemed to be playing with less nerves as compared to his opening round match.

A second break in the seventh game saw Coric serve out the opening set in confident fashion in just 36 minutes, Krajicek not able to make any sort of inroads yet. Coric didn’t face a single break point in the first set.

Krajicek, who is a distant relative of 1996 Wimbledon men’s champion Richard Krajicek, came up with a better game plan in the second, finishing the points quickly and serving better (he won 65% of points on first serves as compared to 57% in the first set), by directing his delivery better. It helped him stay with Coric who was forcing break points in almost every other Krajicek service game.

The Krajicek serve came under intense pressure in the seventh game as the lefty went down 0-40. He saved the first though with a good serve that left him with an easy forehand put away and Coric hit an unforced error on the second. Another unforced error, this time off the forehand, brought it to deuce. Coric had one more opportunity in the game, but had it snuffed out by two good first serves by Krajicek that saw him hold serve.

The decisive break of the second came four games later, when in the 11th game, Coric took his chance at 30-40, when he forced Krajicek’s volley wide, with his weight of shot.

Serving for the match, Coric got a little tight, and had to stave off a break point, but he came through it to book his place in the final eight.

Fourth seed Bautista-Agut seals comfortable win

Roberto Bautista Agut 2016 Aircel Chennai Open
Roberto Bautista-Agut is seeded 4th and will pose a chellenge to young Coric

Coric’s opponent in the quarterfinal will be the fourth seed from Spain, Roberto Bautista-Agut. The Spaniard took to the Stadium Court last and put in a solid showing to beat Australia’s John Millman 6-4 6-1.

Millman had got here playing some really good tennis in the first round to get past Evgeny Donskoy and for nine games the two players were neck-and-neck. Millman was producing some pacy forehands cross-court that were finding their mark, giving Bautista-Agut plenty of trouble.

The Australian enjoyed good support from the crowd who egged him on and he threatened to cause an upset here. Bautista-Agut weathered the aggressiveness despite getting taken to deuce a few times on his serve.

After not being able to land the break, Millman ended up squandering his own serve at 5-6, committing too many errors in this game, handing the fourth seed the first set.

At the start of the second set, Millman looked to get straight back into the match as he broke the Bautista-Agut serve in the very first game. He would, however, squander the advantage immediately to the gritty Spaniard, initiating his downward spiral from which he never recovered, not winning another game.

Bautista-Agut was visibly pleased to have come through unscathed in straight sets and mentioned that he was eager to playing Coric in the quarters.

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