Top-ranked Croatian Borna Coric praised the serve improvement of Alexander Zverev following their US Open round-of-16 clash. Zverev, seeded at No. 5, came from a set down to beat No. 27 seed Coric 1-6 7-6 (5) 7-6 (1) 6-3 and set up a semifinal meeting against Pablo Carreno Busta.
En route to winning Halle in 2018, Coric beat Zverev in straight sets. "That's tough to say. Last time we played it was in Halle when I think he was injured. His hamstring was not good, I think," Coric said when asked what Zverev did better this time and what he did worse this time.
"But in general I think he just improved his serve a lot. He's serving really huge. "Yeah, I mean, it was very good match, very good competing, as well. In the third and fourth sets, I just felt like he also raised his level by a milestone.
"He was playing some really, really good tennis, because I thought I was not playing actually bad. I just thought he was too good in the third and in the fourth sets. Yeah, that's about it."
The absence of Novak Djokovic changed nothing for Coric
When asked if Djokovic being out of the tournament affected his mindset coming into the Zverev match, Coric said: "No, not to me.
I mean, you know, it's a tennis match at the end of the day. I was just trying to focus during the match, you know. "Regardless in the next round if I'm gonna play Novak, if I'm gonna play, I don't know, Shapovalov or whoever, I was not really focused about that, because I knew I have a very tough round now and I knew it's not gonna be easy.
"No, I wouldn't say it's changed much in my perspective, no." Coric admitted he had his chances throughout the match but simply failed to convert. "I did. Of course I also had the same feeling, I had set and 4-2, right, and 4-3, I was serving for it, I had 40-15, and, yeah, I felt like I was in charge of the match.
I saw he was struggling, not playing his best tennis. At the same time, I was playing some great tennis," Coric said. "So I thought I'm not close to, not maybe super close to the finish line, but I felt like I'm close to maybe closing out that second set.
"Yeah, I mean, again, that's the tennis. Sometimes you just lose. Against Tsitsipas I managed to come back, and today, you know, I lost some of my opportunities. That's tennis and that's life, I think. I think it's quite normal."