Coric survives five match points to exorcise Morocco demons
After losing last year's Grand Prix Hassan II final, Borna Coric returned to claim his maiden ATP crown against Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Borna Coric survived five match points to avoid losing the Grand Prix Hassan II final for the second year in succession, eventually beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 to claim his first ATP title.
Coric was defeated by Federico Delbonis in the 2016 decider, having lost his only previous ATP final to Stan Wawrinka at the Chennai Open three months earlier.
But the Croatian 20-year-old showed tremendous character to come through an almighty tussle with his more experienced opponent.
The opening set went with serve until Kohlschreiber made a timely break to clinch it.
The German carried that momentum into the second set as he opened up a 2-0 lead before seeing Coric pull level.
And, as Kohlschreiber threatened to steal another 7-5 win, Coric stood firm to fend off five championship points while serving to stay in the match, forcing a tie-break.
Coric took the match to a deciding set and, despite initially falling behind, claimed five of the last six games to seal a memorable victory.
In 2017, only Andy Murray has survived more match points on his way to an ATP title, coming through seven in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships – remarkably also against Kohlschreiber.