It's officially the GOAT's best ever start to a season as he moved to a peRFect 17-0 in 2018 so far with a hard-fought 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 over Borna Coric.
The win sees the Swiss topple the personal record he set in 2006 with a sixteen match winning streak and he's into his 8th Indian Wells final after prevailing in 2 hours and 21 minutes.
Quick Match Recap
Coric won the toss and elected to receive. Federer was forced to correctly challenge on the first point en route to a love hold. Coric then levelled to 30. The pair then exchanged holds but it was Coric who seemed to be gaining the upper hand from the baseline in the exchanges and so it proved as at 5 games all he broke through before serving out the set to 15.
With Federer looking all at sea set two started poorly as he was broken in the opening game. Coric consolidated for 2-0. In games four and six Roger held a breakpoint both times at 30-40 but the Croat withstood the pressure to hold, however, in game eight Roger finally got back level, breaking and winning the next two games to steal the set as Coric threw in some cheap errors for the first time in the match.
Into the decider and again Roger started in terrible fashion, this time being broken to love with some wild groundstrokes in the swirling wind. This time, however, Coric could not consolidate and Roger broke back then held for a 2-1 lead. Coric then saved a break point and in game seven broke for the second time in the set to lead 4-3. Had Coric been able to take his sole break point in game eight he'd have been just one game away from the final but he faltered, double-faulting on break point as Roger levelled. That changed the complexion of things as the Swiss then held to love in trademark style and broke to love to book his spot in the final.
|Roger Federer||Borna Coric|
|1st Serve||60% (53/88)||64% (61/96)|
|1st Serve Points Won||68% (36/53)||64% (39/61)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||60% (21/35)||49% (17/35)|
|Break Points Saved||33% (2/6)||55% (6/11)|
|Service Games Played||16||16|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||36% (22/61)||32% (17/53)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||51% (18/35)||40% (14/35)|
|Break Points Converted||45% (5/11)||67% (4/6)|
|Net Points Won||61% (11/18)||71% (10/14)|
|Return Games Played||16||16|
|Service Points Won||65% (57/88)||58% (56/96)|
|Return Points Won||42% (40/96)||35% (31/88)|
|Total Points Won||53% (97/184)||47% (87/184)|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
Roger's toughest match of the year so far and one where he didn't play well but somehow came out on top. It's the first time he's played an 11 am start since 2006 and it certainly looked like he'd just got out of bed as Coric dominated for vast periods of the match, hitting with great depth off his backhand and keeping Fed pinned behind the baseline.
In windy conditions Roger seemed to struggle to really find any sort of penetration from the back of the court and didn't look as explosive as we've seen in recent matches, upgrading far fewer backhands to forehands than normal. It was only when Roger started to throw in some junk ball up the middle of the court that he started to see some success, Coric was soaking up his best shots and redirecting them nicely but when he had to generate his own pace and do something extra he started to leak errors. The Nadal wind playing method of up the middle, avoid the lines bagged Roger the second set out of nowhere and he made just four errors in the last four games to get back into it.
The third was similar to the second with Coric running Fed around from the baseline and getting himself in front twice but just lacking that bit of composure at the business end to see it out. Probably walks away thinking he should have won but Roger stuck around for all three sets and ground out the win as he's done so many times over the years when not at his best.
Predictions vs. Del Potro
Next up is Del Possum who defeated Milos Raonic in routine fashion. He's been in great form in the last fortnight, winning in Mexico and now making the final here. The Argentine has had a couple of tough matches this week but he's come through all of them and will be looking to win his first Masters 1000 title tomorrow.
Roger dominates the H2H overall but Del Potro has his fair share of wins with a good record in finals against the Swiss so it's quite an open match. It will be interesting to see how Fed comes out having played over 2 hours today in a fairly physical match where he did a lot of defending. Del Potro has played three days straight though with two three-setters of his own so he might not be the freshest either.
No secrets to how either guy will try to play, Del Potro will be going nuclear on his forehand and Fed will be looking to move the Tower of Tandil around to stop him unloading from the baseline. If Fed's explosive and moving well out of the corners, I like his chances, if he plays like today not so much 🙂
What did you guys think of the Coric match and what are your predictions for tomorrow? Let me know in the comments.