Shanghai | Federer falls to Coric
The indefatigable and seemingly invincible Roger Federer was beaten by Borna Coric in straights sets at the semi-final stage of the Shanghai Masters.
It was surprise loss and also meant that he will relinquish the No.2 slot in the world rankings to Novak Djokovic who earlier has swept past Alexander Zverev to make the final.
For Coric, the 6-4 6-4 victory was possibly the best of the 21-year-old’s career though he had already scored a win over the top seed by winning the Halle tournament at the expense of the record breaking Swiss.
Coric broke the defending champion in the opening game of the match to set himself up for the biggest upset of the week. He served forcefully and never looked to be in danger of losing it as Federer struggled to find an answer as he was broken for a second time early in the second set after just 73-minutes of play to suffer his first loss in a semi-final since Paris 2013.
Federer only managed to win nine points on the return in the entire match (the first match for Roger without earning a break point since 2015 Halle semi-final against Karlovic)! In addition, Coric did enough on the return, winning 34% of the points on the Federer serve and converting two of seven break points to secure the win and set up the clash with Djokovic in Sunday’s final.
Coric struck 19 winners and made just 13 unforced errors while Federer matched him on the winner’s front and nearly doubled the errors count at 24.
After the match Federer congratulated Coric after confessing that he was the better player, “I thought he was better. I think he had more punch on the ball. He served better. I think that’s it,” Federer explained his loss.
“The rest, he had more chances than I had. I got off to a bad start in both sets. That combination is plenty here in Shanghai with [the] fast conditions.”
Earlier Djokovic produced a masterclass to eliminate the 4th seeded Zverev 6-2 6-1 in just 61-minutes.
“I thought I was very solid and always made him play an extra shot from the back of the court and I tried to be as convenient, accurate, and efficient on my service games as possible,” the Serbian told Sky Sports after the match.
“I don’t have a 220 kph first serve like he does so I have to try to use precision more and try to open up the rally with easier first shots. It was part of the tactics, but obviously Alexander can play much better than he played tonight. He wasn’t moving that great and he was making a lot of unforced errors.”
Playing in his 1,000th career match, Djokovic broke twice in both sets to book his place in Sunday’s final