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On Sunday, world No. 152 Borna Coric will face world No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. This is the first time these two have faced one another since Tsitsipas’ epic meltdown in five sets at the 2020 US Open. That match saw Tsitsipas yelling at his dad at the top of his lungs, with the Greek superstar blowing six match points and a two-set-to-one lead. That result has to give Coric some element of mental confidence, despite the lopsided rankings disparity.

Another thing that helps Coric in the headspace department is that Tsitsipas had to play a match against world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals. Those two have a well-documented history with one another, with the Russian having spoken up against Tsitsipas when the Greek player pulled his between-set bathroom antics. Tsitsipas was very obviously invested in that last match, and he looked more excited than usual when it was all over. With that said, it’ll be interesting to see if he can find the same level of focus in this spot. We have done well attacking players in letdown situations with The Pick, and that’s part of the reason we are looking to back Coric here.

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While we’re not exactly expecting an outright win for the Croatian, we do think he has what it takes to win a set here. Part of the reason for that is just how well he is serving right now. In Coric’s five matches in Cincinnati, which includes qualifiers, he has been broken a total of three times. Coric added some muscle while recovering from the shoulder injury that took him outside of the Top 25; that added strength has allowed him to go out there and beat Rafael Nadal, Roberto Bautista Agut, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Cameron Norrie, all in the same week. Now, Coric will be hoping that his serve will help him stay in this match against Tsitsipas.

Another thing to like about Coric is the amount of tennis he has played recently. While Tsitsipas has played only five matches since early July, Coric has played 10 across Challengers, Montreal and Cincinnati. The results haven’t always worked out, but he has to be feeling like he is in great on-court shape right now, which mean he’ll be in solid form when he comes out for this final.

Overall, it’s just hard not to like Coric to make this a competitive match. He’s a fiery competitor and knows he needs to bring his A-game in a final, so we’re taking the shot on him to push this one to a decider, at least. He has the all-court game to keep pace with Tsitsipas, and the Greek star will need to move past a significant win rather quickly.

The Pick: Coric To Win A Set (-152)