World no. 1 Novak Djokovic is through to the quarter-final in Vienna, beating Borna Coric 7-6, 6-3 in two hours in seven minutes. With these points, Novak has achieved the year-end no. 1 honor for the sixth time in the last ten years, matching Pete Sampras' record and reaching another milestone in a historic season.
Like against Filip Krajinovic in the opening match, Djokovic had to work hard in the opener and overpowered Borna in set number two. The Serb saved three break points in the first set and saved four set points, never losing serve and delivering two breaks in set number two.
The opening set saw no less than 94 points, with Coric winning 48 of those and Djokovic 46. Borna lost only nine points behind the initial shot, producing six comfortable holds and earning chances on the return to keep Novak under pressure, wasting his opportunities and falling in straight sets.
Djokovic had 15 winners and 13 unforced errors while Borna hit 17 winners and 18 mistakes, giving his best to dictate the pace and barely missing to cross the finish line first in the opener. The Serb sealed the third game with a forehand winner, and the Croat responded with another strong serve to lock the result at 2-2.
Both players held at 30 in games five and six before a couple of holds at love, staying neck and neck after 33 minutes. Serving at 4-4, Novak fended off two break chances and closed the game with a service winner to remain on the positive side of the scoreboard, sending pressure to the other side of the court.
Staying calm, Coric brought the tenth game home with a hold at love and earned another break chance in the next one, spraying a backhand error to miss a massive opportunity. The Croat held at 15 at 5-6 to secure a tie break where they traded two mini-breaks in the opening four points.
Novak Djokovic is through to the quarter-final in Vienna.
From 2-2, the next eight points went with serve, and Borna earned a set point at 6-5, denied by a volley winner from Novak at the net. Coric wasted another set point at 7-6 when his forehand landed wide, saving one set point and drawing the fourth at 10-9.
Djokovic erased it with a brave forehand winner and converted his third set opportunity at 12-11 to wrap up a thrilling opener in 75 minutes. Both players held at 15 at the beginning of the second set, and it was Djokovic who gained the advantage following a costly double fault from Coric in game three.
The Serb confirmed the lead with a hold at love, creating three more break opportunities at 3-1. Giving his best to stay in touch, Borna repelled them all stayed within one break deficit thanks to a good service game at 2-4.
Djokovic held after a great point and a winner for a 5-3 lead, seizing the second match point on the return to seal the deal and advance into the last eight. "It was very tiring and very challenging. Borna is a great fighter; he is a very good friend of mine.
Off the court, we have known each other for quite a long time. He has kind of a similar style of tennis as I do. He is excellent from the backhand corner and tries to create points with his forehand. He was serving very well, especially in the first set; it was challenging for me to return his serve.
The tie break, like yesterday against Krajinovic, decided the match, I guess. I read his passing shot at 5/6 in the tie-break. He had quite an easy backhand and I read it and made a short forehand volley. These kinds of things happen, and I'm just thrilled to stay focused and play my best at the right time," Novak Djokovic said.