Borna Coric sets to challenge Dominic Thiem on Rio Open debut

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Borna Coric sets to challenge Dominic Thiem on Rio Open debut

The 7th edition of the Rio Open presented by Claro at the Jockey Club Brasileiro will take place between February 17-23 next year, with the organizers already gathering two notable players who should fight for the title and 500 ATP points.

Rafael Nadal won the inaugural tournament there in 2014, followed by David Ferrer, Pablo Cuevas, Dominic Thiem and Diego Schwartzman before Laslo Djere stole the show in February, heading towards the first ATP crown after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime.

2017 champion Dominic Thiem was the first confirmed player for the new edition of the only South American ATP 500 event, followed by the young Croat Borna Coric who should make a debut in Rio in three months. Starting the season from the 12th position, Borna was unable to deliver the same level from 2018, dropping out from the top-20 after a mediocre 27-21 score and hoping to improve that in Madrid during the Davis Cup Finals later in November.

Also, the young Croat has changed his coaching staff, looking for more consistent results in 2020 and to challenge the rivals from the top again. Coric advanced into the fourth round at the Australian Open and the semi-final in Dubai in the first events of the new season, followed by the quarter-final run in Miami, Monte Carlo and Budapest that had kept him in the top-15 ahead of the most significant events on clay.

He scored four wins in Rome and Paris, advancing into the semi-final at s-Hertogenbosch but failing to repeat what he did in Halle a year earlier after the quarter-final loss. The Croat was forced to skip Wimbledon due to back problems and couldn't find the form in Umag, Montreal and Cincinnati as well before another withdrawal at the US Open ahead of the second-round clash with Grigor Dimitrov, still lingering inside the top-15.

After that, Borna decided to part ways with Piatti coaching staff after almost two years, seeking new solutions and hoping to play on a higher level in 2020. After the semi-final in St. Petersburg, Coric lost seven of the last eight encounters, suffering an early loss in Paris to finish the regular season earlier than he expected.