Borna Coric (CRO)
February 27, 2018 -- DUBAI, U.A.E.: Fifth seed and two-time semi-finalist Richard Gasquet became the first big name to fall at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships when he was beaten 6-4 6-3 by Borna Coric this afternoon.
Coric got off to a stunning start, giving up just one point in the first three games and winning 11 straight points as he established a 3-0 lead. Gasquet, suffering from a knee injury, managed to stage a brief comeback, holding two break back points at 1-3, saving a set point at 5-2 and breaking serve as Coric served at 5-3, before Coric broke again for the set.
Watch Day 2 Highlights
Interviews: Borna Coric Post-Match (mp3)
The second set followed a similar pattern, with Coric speeding to a 3-0 lead, Gasquet breaking back in the seventh game but then dropping his own serve again to hand the initiative back to his grateful opponent. After taking a 5-3 lead on his fourth break point Coric served out the match to love.
"It was a very tricky match," said Coric. "I knew he was semi-injured. I didn't know what to expect. I was really just trying to focus on myself. I know many people say that, but I was really, really trying to do that because otherwise I could get lost in the match. I was just trying to be aggressive, trying just to move him as much as possible, not to play only in one place.
"Yeah, he did came back in the both sets. It was pretty good effort from him, I could say, especially because he was injured. But I managed to stay calm. I didn't panic. It was good."
Coric was once spoken of as one of the biggest young prospects in the game, underlined by his Dubai victory over Andy Murray in 2015. But he has so far failed to realise the expectations of him, and he admits that his complacency was largely to blame.
"(It hasn't gone) the way I expected to, definitely. And most people. Maybe if I look that whole (Dubai 2015) tournament, I'm a much better player now than when I was then. It was actually not very good thing for me to happen because I stopped working on some things. I got stuck. I didn't play so well. I got some injuries. My knee, I had operation, I couldn't finish the year. That stopped me as well, for sure. But this is tennis, that's the life. In general, I think basically I just stopped working on my game, on certain things, and I was not improving."
Jan-Lennard Struff also reached the second round on Tuesday, beating Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-2 6-4.
"It is disappointing that Richard Gasquet was not able to perform at his best, especially as he has been playing so well of late with a runner-up finish earlier this month in Montpellier," said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. "At the same time we congratulate Borna Coric on his victory and look forward to seeing how far he progresses this year, both in Dubai and elsewhere."
Tournament Director Salah Tahlak added, "Borna Coric was a worthy winner this afternoon, and we look forward to many more interesting matches on this busy Tuesday, with top seed and world number four Grigor Dimitrov to perform this evening in his first appearance in Dubai since 2011."
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which continues until 3rd March, is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Tickets are on sale online and from the Box Office, which is open 9am -9pm daily. For ticket sales go to http://www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com/en/tickets. For further information about the tournament visit www.dubaidutyfreentennischampionships.com.