Doha: The draw of the Qatar Open tennis tournament has been broken wide open after the second and third seeds were beaten in long drawn out encounters here.
Croatia's Borna Coric turned around his poor form towards the end of 2017 with a stunning comeback win saving three match points to oust second seed Pablo Carreno Busta 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(8) in 2 hours and 41 minutes in the opening round of the Qatar Open on Tuesday night. The Spaniard served for the match twice and appeared to be on course for a win but some errors and tentative play allowed Coric to get back into the match. Some tenacious retrieving combined with well timed forays to the net gave Coric the advantage in the important moments and it went to a deciding tiebreak.
In the tie-break, Carreno Busta had match point thrice but each time Coric showed his resilient nature running down all the balls and forcing the error from the second seed. He then closed out the upset win on his first match point. Coric showcased his improved play at the net by winning 17 of 21 points at the net in the final set and 27 of 33 overall.
Asked about breaking Carreno Busta twice when serving for the match, Coric said: "I think towards the end the balls got much bigger, so we couldn't serve that well any more. The ball wasn't coming through so fast. So he also broke me twice as well. "During the match points, I was just saying don't miss, you know. Don't miss this point because we actually played a very long tie-break. I was a little bit tired and I also knew he was tired. So I was just trying to make him play as much as I can. And that's what I did."
It was a day of long matches as Germany's Jan Lennard Struff followed Coric's example by upsetting 2015 finalist and third seed Tomas Berdych in three sets. He outlasted the Czech player 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4) in two hours and eight minutes. Struff broke early and closed out the first set 6-4. Despite a strong comeback from Berdych in the second set, Struff held on to win the match in the final set tiebreak.