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The tennis world has seen Borna Coric coming for a while now (see victories over Nadal in Basel and Murray in Dubai, plus junior accolades), but the general public is just getting its first taste of the steely, virile youngster from Croatia after he became the youngest player to reach the third round at the French Open since Marat Safin did so in 1998.

Coric took down the indomitable Tommy Robredo, a man who made five-set history at Roland Garros in 2013 when he came back from two sets to love down in three consecutive matches to reach the quarterfinals, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, on Day 5 in Paris.

He instantly drew praise, as he has been quite regularly over the last year, from pundits and star players alike. But Coric himself released a humble tweet, ensuring that he paid tribute to his vanquished foe (a really nice touch).


18th-seeded Robredo entered the match with a 17-4 record in five-setters, which included seven in a row and 10 of his last 11. In other words, there was a mountain to climb for Coric, who was also down a break late in the fifth set before showing his grit by taking the last three games on the trot to seal the upset.

Immediately after Coric’s victory, Tennis Channel commentator and Roger Federer’s former coach Paul Annacone stated “He’s the best unconditional competitor of all the youngsters right now.”

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has trained with Coric on many occasions of late, also reiterated his high praise for the world No. 46. “I like Coric and how he approaches matches. He has a very mature mindset for somebody that is only 18," said Djokovic. "I practiced with him quite a lot in the last couple of months, and he does remind me of myself a little bit at that age."

He added: "He does have a very professional, very mature way of approaching, not just matches, but tennis life in general, which is nice to see for somebody his age. It's not that usual to see that. I think he's going to be very, very good."

Coric, along with fellow young gun Thanasi Kokkinakis, have combined to become the first teenage duo to reach the third round at Roland Garros since 2006:


Coric will face another fast-rising ATP youngster in the third round when he meets 22-year-old American Jack Sock for the first time. Kokkinakis, meanwhile, will have the unenviable task of facing Novak Djokovic in round three.

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