Kohlschreiber, Coric To Battle For Marrakech Title
Exactly one year ago, Borna Coric made a statement on the clay of Marrakech in reaching his second ATP World Tour final. Coric finished runner-up to Federico Delbonis on that day, but the #NextGenATP Croatian will have another shot at the Grand Prix Hassan II title when he faces Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday.
In a battle of former recipients of the ATP Star of Tomorrow Award, presented by Emirates, Coric (2014 winner) downed Jiri Vesely (2013) 6-4, 6-4 in Saturday's first semi-final. The 20 year old needed one hour and 22 minutes to prevail, firing six aces and saving both break points faced.
"It was a very good match for me," said Coric. "My best on the clay season so far. I was serving very good, returning very good and moving very good.
"It's going to be a very tough match tomorrow. I play very good here and we'll see what's going to happen. I can only hope to take the next step tomorrow."
Coric will appear in his third ATP World Tour final, seeking his maiden title. In addition to his run to the final in Marrakech last year, he also finished runner-up to Stan Wawrinka at the Aircel Chennai Open to open the 2016 season. The Croatian is bidding to add a fourth title for the current #NextGenATP contingent, joining Alexander Zverev (St. Petersburg 2016 & Montpellier 2017) and Karen Khachanov (Chengdu 2016).
It will be the third FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter between Coric and Kohlschreiber. They previously battled in both Dubai and Monte-Carlo last year, with the German taking both meetings in straight sets.
Kohlschreiber advanced to his first final of the season with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 win over Benoit Paire on Saturday. The 33 year old emerged victorious after just 62 minutes, claiming four of 14 break chances. He broke Paire's serve after a marathon 18-point opening game and did not look back from there, eventually converting his second match point with a service winner.
"Against Benoit it is not easy and always tricky," said Kohlschreiber. "I think I played a very good match and I started well. I managed to stay calm and play very good tennis.
"Borna played the final here last year, so he really likes the conditions. For me, it's my first final here. I also like the conditions and hopefully we'll play our best tennis and have a great final."
Kohlschreiber will appear in his 16th ATP World Tour final and first on African soil. It is his first final outside of his home country of Germany or current hometown of Kitzbuhel since 2013. The World No. 32 is vying for an eighth career title.