After an impressive display to beat Roger Federer, Borna Coric faces Novak Djokovic in Sunday's Shanghai Masters final. Assessing his chances, is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"In these last three months on hard court, the Serb has held 90.3% and broken 29.7% (120.0% combined) and has won 19 of his 20 matches, and these numbers show he's back to his previous best levels that saw him as dominant force in men's tennis. However, Coric's data from this time period is also strong (110.9% combined) and it's not a foregone conclusion that Novak will triumph here."
Coric and Djokovic with impressive victories on Saturday
Saturday's action in China saw Novak Djokovic and Borna Coric reach Sunday's final, and if we look at the match stats, Coric's 6-4 6-4 victory over Roger Federer was similarly as impressive as Djokovic's 6-2 6-1 triumph at the expense of Alexander Zverev.
In fact, both victors won having faced zero break points, and in fact, Coric created seven to Djokovic's six, although the former world number one did have a much higher points won figure in the match as he outclassed his German rival.
Coric with continued improvement in his hard court data
The 21 year old Coric is marginally younger than the defeated Zverev, and looks to be following him on a path to the top ten. Statistically, he's very strong indeed on hard court, holding 83.2% and breaking 26.9% (110.1% combined) in the last 12 months, and that Federer win put him over the 110% combined hold/break mark.
Djokovic still with a reasonable hard court edge
Djokovic's data is obviously still better, at 87.8% and 30.0%, respectively (117.8% combined), and unsurprisingly he's the favourite to take the title. However, the current price of [1.15] looks pretty short given this data - it's not a vast discrepancy in abilities - and even if we look at data from the last three months, where Djokovic has been magnificent, again, their ability differential is not huge.
In these last three months on hard court, the Serb has held 90.3% and broken 29.7% (120.0% combined) and has won 19 of his 20 matches, and these numbers show he's back to his previous best levels that saw him as dominant force in men's tennis. However, Coric's data from this time period is also strong (110.9% combined) and it's not a foregone conclusion that Novak will triumph here.
Coric capable of covering the game handicap line
I do feel Coric can keep matters close, at the very least. In best of three matches on hard court where he's been priced in excess of 3.00, he's covered the +4.5 game line in six of seven matches since the start of 2017, and this line is what I like for tomorrow - we can get [2.06] on the young Croat to cover this line.
Following this, the tour moves to Europe, and there are indoor tournaments in Moscow, Stockholm and Antwerp next week, and I'll be returning on Sunday to preview the upcoming week's action.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
Back Borna Coric +4.5 games at [2.06] to beat Novak Djokovic