Roger Federer enters Friday’s Dubai semi-finals looking to turn the table on Borna Coric after losing to the 22-year-old Croat in their last two showdowns.
The first time Federer took on Coric was in Dubai four years ago. The then teenaged Coric had just defeated a third-ranked Andy Murray in the previous round before losing easily to Federer in the semis.
Last season, Federer and Coric squared off three times, with the Swiss edging through a close three-setter in Indian Wells and his younger opponent pulling off the upset in the Halle final and the Shanghai semis later in the year.
“He’s really found his game. I remember when he came up, I played him here actually. Then also he beat Murray here, beat Rafa in Basel. That year he really made a steep ascent. Then he struggled for a while, then found his game again,” said Federer of the 13th-ranked Coric.
“We’ve had a couple tough matches as of late. He beat me on a few of those occasions. I think we’re 2-2 in the last four maybe. I’m happy for Borna to have really understood his game. That’s really important at the top level if you want to win the big tournaments, which he has now.”
Between his rough late-night scheduling and tough road to the semis, Borna Coric has been such a trooper so far this week, showing so much fight:
R1 7-5 3-6 7-6(4) 🆚 Vesely in 2hr 49min
R2 1-6 6-1 7-6(4) 🆚 Berdych in 2hr 13min
QF 4-6 6-2 7-6(1) 🆚 Basilashvili in 2hr 27min
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) February 28, 2019
Coric has had a brutal week so far in the Emirates, battling through three final-set tiebreaks in as many days, to book a spot in the semi-finals.
His latest gruelling affair ended at 1:00am in Dubai early Friday morning at the expense of Nikoloz Basilashvili.