Croatia’s Borna Ćorić turned in back-to-back quarterfinals appearances in two of the biggest clay court tournaments of the season, the Madrid Open and the Italian Open. He now ranks No. 16 in the world and is only four spots away from his career high of No. 12. Ćorić has been re-Borna this year and is riding high toward Roland-Garros, where he was blessed with a good draw.
Ćorić faces off with Argentina’s Federico Coria in the first round of the 128-player tournament. Coria looks lost on court right now, and he could struggle bigtime against Ćorić’s heavy groundstrokes. The Argentine hasn’t won an ATP match since February 11, and his ranking barely qualified him for Roland-Garros.
The winner of Ćorić-Coria will contest either Dominic Thiem or Coria’s countrymate Pedro Cachín, both of whom have significantly under-.500 records on the year. Considering Thiem’s continued struggles, Ćorić will be the easy favorite to make the round of 32 from the group.
If the seeds hold their ranking, Ćorić will beat 18-seed Aussie Alex de Minaur in the round of 32, and then run into red-hot Russian Daniil Medvedev for a chance to make his second grand slam quarterfinal. In the event he pulled off an upset at that juncture, Ćorić might be able to make a deep run with title favorites Novak Djoković and Carlos Alcaraz on the other half of the draw.
Ćorić truly can compete closer than many think against Medvedev. He actually holds a 4-3 head-to-head record against the Russian and plays a rare brand of tennis that negates Medvedev’s defense-to-offense strategy. Ćorić takes his groundstrokes quite early and has a penchant for beating top 10 players, with 18 career victories against the group. Though he hasn’t played quite as consistently as in years past, Ćorić’s recent success may have him prepared to make a leap.
The Croatian sensation has very few points to defend this summer and can continue to swing freely until August. Ćorić shocked the world in Cincinnati last August, winning the Masters 1000 tournament ranked 152 in the world. There, he became the lowest-ranked victor of a Masters 1000 in the history of the sport.
Ćorić surely played some of the best tennis of his young career in the tournament, and the win perhaps reminded him of his prime 2018 season. He made it to the quarters of six tournaments on the year, performing consistently throughout and especially dominating in middle-caliber tournaments. He even ended on a high note, making the final of the Shanghai Masters 1000. The deep run righted his middling effort in slams – he didn’t make it past the third round in any of the four majors.
Last season, Ćorić only won two of his six matches in slams, but now he can greatly boost his ranking with a good performance at the French. He was given a good draw, and now is playing some of his best tennis, riding high into Roland-Garros as a reborn player set to bust some brackets.
The way he played in Madrid and Rome, Ćorić could very well make it to the second week of the tournament and even fight for the deepest grand slam run of his career.