No 10th Halle title for Roger Federer as he fell short at the hands of Borna Coric who won his first ever grass court title 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-2 in 2 hours and 4 minutes.
Roger was the heavy favourite heading in having won 20 matches in a row on Grass and carrying a 2-0 H2H lead against an opponent who had only ever won 2 matches on the surface before entering this weeks Gerry Weber Open. However, the Croatian Number 2 hadn't dropped serve all week and he put together a very solid match, dominating from the baseline, firing 11 aces and saving 3 of 4 break points en route to a second career title.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive. A sharp return caught Coric off guard on the very first point and at 0-30 the Swiss missed a very makeable pass. Coric then won four points on the spin to hold.
A 56-second hold saw Roger quickly level and he was again able to get into the Coric game but unable to fashion a break point. That trend continued until game ten where Roger created the first break point of the set but Coric held on after a lengthy multi-deuce game. A Federer love hold took us into the tie-break.
Into the breaker and Roger made the first move, moving up a mini-break for 5-3 but at 6-4 and a serve to come Coric caught hold of a return to get back on serve. At 5-6 the Croat got a little lucky when Roger couldn't get hold of a smash properly and he won the next two points to take it 8-6.
Roger needed to shake off the disappointment of dropping set one after being marginally the better player and it looked like right the wrongs quickly, hitting two glorious backhand passing shots in game four to setup break point, but again he couldn't convert. Game six was a similar story with Coric again saving a break point but in game eight the Zagreb native missed a simple volley at 15-40 to hand Roger the break. The Swiss served it out to love to force a decider.
Fed was now the favourite after upping his game for the last 3 games of set two but by the middle of the third Coric began to dominate from the baseline making Fed do all the running. The nine-time Halle Champion was broken in game six after playing too many points on the defensive and he looked way too leggy to mount a comeback. Coric consolidated easily for 5-2 and after holding two game points Roger relinquished his serve with Coric able to convert his second match point to bag the title.
|Borna Coric||Roger Federer|
|1st Serve||74% (73/98)||70% (62/88)|
|1st Serve Points Won||74% (54/73)||87% (54/62)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||48% (12/25)||42% (11/26)|
|Break Points Saved||75% (3/4)||33% (1/3)|
|Service Games Played||14||15|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||13% (8/62)||26% (19/73)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||58% (15/26)||52% (13/25)|
|Break Points Converted||67% (2/3)||25% (1/4)|
|Return Games Played||15||14|
|Net Points Won||66% (19/29)||63% (15/24)|
|Service Points Won||67% (66/98)||74% (65/88)|
|Return Points Won||26% (23/88)||33% (32/98)|
|Total Points Won||48% (89/186)||52% (97/186)|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
Look it was a good week for me, I thought I played alright, I can definitely play better but for the most part you play as good as you can. Conditions were cold, so clearly it plays a bit different compared to warm weather. I thought today was decided like it is often, the one who wins the bigger points wins the match. I think the key was the first set tie breaker, I had more chances and I should have won it but I didn't and it cost me dearly at some point in the third set.
So a disappointing end to the week here in Halle for Federer as he failed to win his 10th title and the Number 1 has gone back to Rafael Nadal. Looking at the match in isolation, it's a pretty poor loss to a guy who has zero pedigree on grass and someone you can see easily bombing early at Wimbledon. But if you look at the tournament as a whole Roger has made the final playing struggle tennis for the most part so it's not a total surprise he came up short today.
The final was actually one of his better matches in terms of level this week if not the best, he played a decent first set but Coric hit a quality return on the first set point and got a bit of luck on the second before stealing the set despite winning 5 points less than Roger. In the second he played a very clean set, a bit tame on the breakpoints but you could see he was pushing hard to get the legs moving and it paid off. As for the third, he just seemed to run out of gas, a step slow and having to do way too much running. Coric was able to step in, hit harder and boss the points and it felt like once a rally started Roger had no clear route to winning the points. Obviously, the first set tie-break was key, had Fed won that he'd have been able to freewheel a bit but Coric kept a high level throughout to get it done so credit to him, he's Djoker-like from the baseline with a quality backhand.
So next stop Wimbledon, Fed has a week to prepare where he'll need to fuse some good rest with some quality practice. Allez! Let me know your thoughts on the final in the comments as always.
Finally here's what Fed said in his post-match interview:
“There is no need to worry regarding my fitness, I just need to rest next week, will probably practice in the second half of the week again, specific tennis training, happy with the tournaments I played, gained a lot of valuable information.”