Australian Open 2nd rd Preview Borna Coric (11) Vs Marton Fucsovics
Borna Coric and Marton Fucsovics both play some of their best tennis on medium fast hard courts. What makes this Australian Open second round match so intriguing is that they do so from two very different approaches.
Coric is the modern baseliner with great movement and a keen sense of when to attack and when to stay back. Fucsovics, at the other end of the spectrum, is the classical aggressive power hitter.
If recent form is anything to go by, this match could be the highlight of round 2.
Coric took a big step forward last season, finishing just outside the top ten, turning his forehand into something of a weapon, and developing into a very mature player.
Fucsovics, meanwhile, keeps getting better and better, working hard on his fitness and execution of his style of play, rising from 85 in the world at the start of 2018 to his current ranking of 38 (his high is 35).
Fucsovics got his year off to a good start reaching the Doha last 16 where he took a set from Novak Djokovic and making the Sydney last 16.
Coric is playing his first tournament of the season at this Australian Open. He finished 2018 on a high, reaching the Shanghai final and winning the Davis Cup as part of the Croatian team. Davis Cup has often been a springboard to a positive start to the next season and Coric breaking his duck Down Under has started 2019 off with a real jump.
In the Australian Open first round, Coric defeated Steve Darcis in straight sets, the 11th seed’s first ever victory in Melbourne on his fifth attempt. Fucsovics, who reached the fourth round last year, losing to Roger Federer, had a tougher time against the tricky baseliner Alberto Ramos Vinolas who would have kept the ball bouncing a little higher than Fucsovics might have liked it, a tactic Coric will also likely employ.
Darcis and Ramos Vinolas were good preparation for both men for this match in fundamental ways- Coric facing an aggressive fast courter; Fucsovics a strong baseliner.
However, when it comes to the more nuanced aspects of each other’s individual games, this match is unchartered territory for both, it being the first meeting between the two.
With the two competitors two of the strongest and fittest players on tour, this match will be a physical contest of the toughest order. Fucsovics will be aiming to assert himself from the very beginning, Coric will be ready to hit as many balls as it takes and to keep Fucsovics at the back of the court reaching for balls shoulder height and on the stretch.
Over five sets, Coric should be a bit too versatile for Fucsovics. But, if the Hungarian gets off to a confident start, he’s got the ball striking ability to tear through this one.
Whoever wins is going to have to execute hard court tennis at a high level versus tough competition in a contest which, while a tough draw for the players, is a real treat for fans in the second round of a Grand Slam.
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