Borna Coric made a good start to his NOVENTI OPEN title defence on Tuesday, defeating 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier Jaume Munar 7-6(2), 6-3 to reach the second round.
One year ago, Coric made a stunning run at this ATP 500 tournament, defeating then-World No. 3 Alexander Zverev in the first round and nine-time champion Roger Federer in the final. The 22-year-old is trying to win an ATP Tour title for the third consecutive year.
The turning point of the match came when Coric faced two consecutive break points at 3-4 in the second set. If Munar had converted those chances, he would have served for a one-set lead. But Coric carved a forehand drop shot and then hit a big kicking first serve out wide to get back to deuce, and he never looked back from there.
Those were the only break points Munar earned in the match. On the other hand, Coric took full advantage of the only break point he earned, breaking for 3-1 in the second set with a big backhand down the line that forced an error. The World No. 14 triumphed after one hour and 25 minutes when Munar couldn’t put a forehand return in play.
Coric will play Portuguese No. 1 Joao Sousa, who beat Hubert Hurkacz on Monday, in the second round. It will be their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.
Guido Pella had a tremendous clay-court season, tying for the ATP Tour-lead on the surface with 21 wins. But David Goffin wasted no time beating him on the Halle grass, as the Belgian ousted the eighth seed 6-1, 6-1 in just 50 minutes. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up will next face Moldovan Radu Albot, who advanced on Monday.
Qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky battled past #NextGenATP German Rudolf Molleker 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 in two hours and 19 minutes after saving one match point in the second-set tie-break. Stakhovsky will try to reach his first tour-level quarter-final since Marseille when he plays Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Did You Know?
Entering Halle last year, Coric had just two wins in nine tour-level matches on grass. The Croat now holds a 10-9 record on the surface.