ATP ANALYSIS: Borna Coric prevails in the crucial points to defeat Andy Murray in Madrid

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ATP ANALYSIS: Borna Coric prevails in the crucial points to defeat Andy Murray in Madrid

2015 Madrid champion Andy Murray suffered yet another early exit in this year's Masters 1000 tournaments (terrible 2-3 score in Indian Wells, Monte Carlo, and Madrid), losing 6-3 6-3 to young Croat Borna Coric. This was their 4th meeting and 4th one-sided win for either of them (Borna won 6-1 6-3 in Dubai 2015), as Coric saved 4 out of 5 break points to control his service games, breaking Andy 4 times to notch a straight sets triumph. Thus, Andy's poor start of the season became even worse, as he failed to reach the quarter-final for the 4th time in 7 events, and 3 times in the Masters 1000 series. Borna was more aggressive, he was hitting the ball with more pace and he often was the one who tried to change the direction of shots and go for an open court and a chance to score a winner. 

In terms of the rankings, this was his biggest win in a career so far and he will compete in his second Masters 1000 quarter-final, after Cincinnati last year. It was a solid baseline battle with mid-pace exchanges, usually with cross court backhands, and it was Coric who emerged as a winner, playing better in the deciding moments and keeping the points on his racquet. His forehand worked fine and he committed fewer errors than Andy, who struggled to find the right tempo in the entire match. Like many times in his losses, Andy had troubles with his second serve and his groundstrokes were not there as well, hitting more than 10 unforced errors from both forehand and backhand wing. He was unable to exploit Borna's forehand or to build a point and finish it at the net, being stuck on the baseline from where he failed to stay in touch with Croat. 

Both players served at around 60% and Borna made a big difference with his second serve (55% of the points won against 35% for Andy). Also, a 20-year-old won 8 out of 13 points on a total number of break chances, which was enough to put him in the driving seat. He saved 4 out of 5 break points and broke Andy on 4 occasions from 8 chances he created, to come out as a deserved winner after 85 minutes. The number of winners was similar, Andy had 12-10 edge in service winners while Coric beat him by 14-10 in the direct points from the field (they bot had 8 forehand winners). Murray reached the number of 23 unforced errors, missing equally from both wings, and Borna stayed on 17, which gave him a breathing space. Also, Andy had 3 forced errors more than his rival, 10-7, and it is clear that the total number of errors (33-24 for the Briton) handed the victory to Borna after all. Coric had the edge in the shortest rallies up to 4 shots, with 30-27, and even bigger in the mid-range points with 5-8 strokes, taking 13 out of 21. Croat also had more success in the longest points, by 15-12, and this fact also cemented his win, as he was the better player in all kind of rallies today. 

The match kicked off with 3 easy holds, Andy fired 4 service winners in his opening 2 service games to be 2-1 in front, before he created two break points in game 4. Borna saved them in style, with 2 winners right after the serve, and he closed the game with 4 winners in a row to level the score at 2-2. Borna did manage to escape in that game but Andy failed to do the same in game 5, making 3 unforced errors and losing a 17-stroke rally to get broken, sending Coric 3-2 in front. Nevertheless, Murray was back on the level terms in game 6, breaking back when Borna hit 4 unforced errors to let his game slip away in no time at all. The 7th game saw the 3rd break in a row, Andy wasted a game point and he lost his serve after two easy mistakes and a good attack by Borna in the final point. 

It was a pretty slow start for both players so far, after 7 games they made 15 unforced errors and just 4 winners combined, but it was obvious that Coric was the one who tried to chance the direction of the points first and put himself in the position to attack. Coric held at 15 in game 8, blasting two service winners to move 5-3 in front, leaving Murray to serve to stay in the set. He opened the game with a double fault, followed by 2 routine forehand mistakes, and out of sudden Coric had 3 set points. Briton fends off the first two with much-needed forehand winners but he netted an easy backhand on the third, as Borna grabbed his third break in a row to seal the set by 6-3 after 38 minutes. Andy had an 8-5 advantage in terms of service winners and they both hit 4 from the court. On the other hand, Andy committed 11 unforced and 6 forced errors while Borna stayed on 11 in total, which gave him the opening set. 

Borna continued where he left in the opening set, he won a 27-stroke rally and closed the first game with a service winner, and he had a chance for an early break that could push him much closer towards the finish line. He had a great chance on his break point, as Murray again missed the first serve, but he sent a slow second serve return long, missing a golden opportunity to grab his 5th game in a row. Andy held after his 10th service winner since the start of the match and in the next game, he will have a chance on return. Coric had to play against 2 break points in game 3 but, just like in the most of the match, he was very focused on the crucial points, saving the first with a forehand winner and the second one with a service winner, closing the game with another two fast points to maintain the lead. 

After 4 tough service games, Andy held at love in game 4, which was just what he needed to stay in contention and keep the pressure on his young rival. Both players served well in the next 3 games (this was the best part of the match for sure), Borna gained a 4-3 lead with two winners and two errors from Murray in game 7 and he made the pivotal step towards the triumph when he broke Andy at love in game 8! Briton was terrible in that game, with 4 errors (Borna won 2 15-stroke rallies) and Croat served for the win in game 9. They split two long exchanges at the start but Coric brought the game home without bigger troubles, celebrating his first win over the world number 1.  

Point by point result and the number of shots in the rallies:

I set: 

1. Murray (1-0) : 15-0(2) 30-0(22) 40-0(3) Game(4)  
2. Coric (1-1) : 15-0(12) 15-15(6) 30-15(14) 40-15(1) Game(2)
3. Murray (2-1) : 15-0(2) 15-15(9) 30-15(1) 40-15(4) Game(2)
4. Coric (2-2) : 15-0(25) 15-15(5) 15-30(13) 15-40(3) 30-40(3) Deuce(3) Adv. Coric(2) Game(7) 
5. Murray (2-3) : 0-15(3) 0-30(15) 15-30(2) 15-40(3) 30-40(1) Break(17) 
6. Coric (3-3) : 0-15(3) 0-30(23) 0-40(7) Break(13)
7. Murray (3-4) : 0-15(3) 15-15(1) 30-15(2) 30-30(5) 40-30(4) Deuce(3) Adv. Coric(3) Break(11) 
8. Coric (3-5) : 15-0(10) 15-15(1) 30-15(1) 40-15(6) Game(2) 
9. Murray (3-6) : 0-15(1) 0-30(3) 0-40(7) 15-40(3) 30-40(3) Break(3)  

II set: 

1. Coric (1-0) : 15-0(4) 30-0(27) 40-0(1) 40-15(13) Game(1)
2. Murray (1-1) : 15-0(9) 30-0(3) 30-15(3) 30-30(5) 40-30(4) Deuce(5) Adv. Coric(6) Deuce(2) Adv. Murray(10) Game(2)
3. Coric (2-1) : 0-15(9) 15-15(5) 30-15(5) 30-30(10) 30-40(2) Deuce(3) Adv. Murray(17) Deuce(2) Adv. Coric(2) Game(3)
4. Murray (2-2) : 15-0(6) 30-0(3) 40-0(2) Game(14)
5. Coric (3-2) : 15-0(2) 15-15(7) 30-15(8) 40-15(5) Game(18) 
6. Murray (3-3) : 15-0(6) 30-0(4) 30-15(5) 40-15(3) Game(2)
7. Coric (4-3) : 15-0(3) 30-0(3) 30-15(5) 40-15(14) Game(10)    
8. Murray (5-3) : 0-15(15) 0-30(3) 0-40(3) Break(15) 
9. Coric (6-3) : 0-15(19) 15-15(24) 30-15(3) 40-15(6) 40-30(7) Game(4)     

Points won by the rallies length:

Coric               Murray
30      1-4   (57)  27
13      5-8   (21)  8 
5       9-12  (9)   4
7       13-20 (13)  6 
3       21+   (5)   2

Winners, forced and unforced errors by each shot:

Coric                        Murray 

10       Service winners     12    
14       Winners:            10
8        Forehand            8
2        Backhand            1
         Volley              1
4        Smash                

17       Unforced errors:    23
9        Forehand            12      
8        Backhand            11  

7        Forced errors:      10
4        Forehand            4
3        Backhand            6 

1        Double faults       1


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