Borna Coric continued his remarkable comeback from injury, beating Cameron Norrie in straight sets to reach the Western & Southern Open final. The Croatian will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final after the Greek defeated Daniil Medvedev in an absorbing three-set battle.
Coric reached his second ATP Masters 1000 final – and his first since having shoulder surgery last year – with a commanding 6-3, 6-4 victory over the British No 1, who offered little resistance against his opponent’s heavy hitting from the baseline.
Norrie, the ninth seed, had beaten rising star Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-finals and raced into a 3-1 lead here. Coric found his groove to win five straight games and secure the opening set. The current world No 152 has enjoyed a terrific week in Cincinnati, beating Rafael Nadal and Félix Auger-Aliassime on his run to the final four.
Coric kept up that momentum in the second set, clinching eight straight points to take a 4-2 lead before closing out the match to set up a third career meeting with Tsitsipas. “It was a very tough day, a very long day as well,” said Coric after both men’s semi-finals were delayed due to rain.
“At the beginning I was not there, I was not feeling the ball very well. Then I did find my rhythm,” added the 25-year-old, who struck 22 winners in all. “I started to serve better, I started to play much better and I think that was the key to the match.”
In the second semi-final, Tsitsipas edged the world number No 1 Medvedev by a score of 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-3. The fourth seed saved a set point on his way to winning the opening tie-break but collapsed in stunning fashion in the second set, falling behind 5-0 before fighting back to avoid a bagel.
Tsitsipas had just two wins in nine matches against Medvedev before this encounter and the pendulum appeared to be swinging his opponent’s way again. However, a decisive break in the fifth game put Tsitsipas back in front, and he served out the match with some exquisite net play.
“I felt like the ball wasn’t really flying off his racket,” Tsitsipas said afterwards. “I felt like he was trying too hard, and that’s when I knew that I pushed him there, and it was something that I did over many consecutive rallies, a lot of physical effort. I knew that was my opportunity to go and strike.”
Sunday will be the world No 7’s first final appearance in Cincinnati and his fifth ATP final of 2022. “I’m prepared for it,” said the former Roland Garros finalist. “I know it’s not an easy task playing against [Coric]. He’s coming back from an injury, he’s playing great tennis, and he’s going to work very hard for it.”
The women’s final will feature two unseeded players, with Petra Kvitova set to take on qualifier Caroline Garcia. The Czech outlasted Madison Keys 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday, while Garcia overcame the sixth seed, Aryna Sabalenka, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.
“That’s nice to have this experience, even in my age,” the 32-year-old Kvitova said after fighting back from a set down to reach the final. “In my career, I had many, many finals, but never here. It feels different because it’s for the first time in Cincinnati.”
In a rain-hit second semi-final, Garcia took the first set but was taken to a decider after a weather delay of more than two hours. Rain brought another brief half with Garcia leading 3-1 in the third, but she reeled off the three games required to become the first qualifier to reach the finals in a WTA 1000 event.
“No one expected it, that’s for sure,” Garcia said after extending her winning streak to seven matches. “It’s a long way to come from [qualifiers]. It’s one match at a time. Try to take the best from every match and improve through the tournament.”