Although most fans and pundits were likely anticipating the latest chapter in the Roger Federer vs Andy Murray rivalry, they were dealt a surprising blow when the youngest player on the ATP World Tour Top 100 stormed past the Scot to deny the star-studded semi-final berth. Instead, Federer will now come up against Borna Coric for the first time in his career to determine who will advance to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship.
World No. 2 Roger Federer found his way into the semi-finals in Dubai following a retirement from Richard Gasquet after dropping the opening set 6-1. It took the Swiss star just 20 minutes to close out the set, and it looked like there was little that could halt his momentum.
“I think I played well,” Federer said. “I served well. Then again, the test was so short that it’s tough to judge on a 20-minute match. But, you know, I think I was hitting the ball well again, like yesterday. I felt able to play aggressive and do what I was hoping to do, so I was very pleased, actually.”
Faced with the task of toppling 2012 runner-up Andy Murray in their quarter-final meeting, Borna Coric looked calm and determined, which he mixed with brilliant gameplay to defeat the Briton 6-1, 6-3 in effortless fashion. Coric looked poised and relaxed as he won 89% of his first service points and converted the necessary four break points to close out the match in 80 minutes. It was the world No. 84’s second career victory over a Top 10 competitor.
“[It’s] one of the biggest wins, for sure,” said Coric. “I was just trying to maintain my level, stay in the rallies as long as I can, which I was doing really well. I was also running very well.
“I’m still a little bit struggling with the best players when they are playing really good obviously. I always need to be on 100 per cent, and when I’m on 100 per cent, mentally [and] also tennis wise, then I think I can play with them.”
This is the first meeting on the ATP World Tour between Federer and Coric and could make for an intriguing contest given the recent turn of events. Coric has proven that he is one of the game’s top prospects and has the potential to surge to one of the top spots in tennis given the right mixture of talent, dedication, and maturity. While Federer should remain the favourite for this first-time meeting, an upset could certainly be brewing.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Three Sets