Another Dubai final for the GOAT awaits as he saw off Lucky Loser Borna Coric 6-2, 6-1 in 57 minutes. This will be his 9th final at the Aviation Club and he'll be bidding for a 7th title. In his way stands Novak Djokovic who took down Berdych in 3 sets.
Coric had scored some impressive wins this week beating Murray in the Quarters but this one proved a bridge too far for him and he got outplayed to be honest; his only real success coming when Roger pushed a bit too hard or swung wildly on the forehand. In fact Coric could only manage 3 winners in the entire match, 2 of those coming late on in the second set so he was never close to doing any damage. Roger on the other hand blasted 20 of them, including probably the best backhand down the line you'll see all week.
Fast court + Fed not backing off gives you very little time to play how you want, you're reacting all the time and all you can really do is try get the ball back in play. That doesn't get the job done against Roger when hitting through the court isn't an issue.
Quick Match Recap
Coric won the toss, elected to receive and fashioned two break points in Roger's first service game but couldn't take advantage. The Swiss then broke for a 2-0 lead which was quickly consolidated for 3-0.
It look set to be one way traffic but after Coric got his first game on the board he broke back for 3-2 and was suddenly right back in the set. However his good work was instantly undone as Federer ramped up the intensity just a touch to break again to lead 4-2 aided by a key Coric double fault. This time there was no comeback mounted as Roger held then broke again to take the set 6-2.
Into the second and Coric was becoming even more animated, talking to his box, fist pumping any point he could win and generally looking pretty fired up. Unfortunately for him it didn't work in his favour as Fed made sure he was the one forcing the issue; holding and then breaking to lead 2-0 to put the match virtually to bed.
Coric eventually got a game on the board for 1-3 but he was broken in his next service game for 1-5 before Roger closed it out, hitting back from 0-30 down to take it it 6-1. Can't forget to mention the genius stop volley at 15-30 either 😉
|B. Coric||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||63%||65%|
|1st Serve Points Won||12/25 (48%)||23/32 (72%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||3/15 (20%)||7/17 (41%)|
|Break Points Saved||2/7 (29%)||2/3 (67%)|
|Service Games Played||7||8|
|1st Return Points Won||9/32 (28%)||13/25 (52%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||10/17 (59%)||12/15 (80%)|
|Break Points Won||1/3 (33%)||5/7 (71%)|
|Return Games Played||8||7|
|Net Points Won||0/0||9|
|Total Service Points Won||15/40 (38%)||30/49 (61%)|
|Total Return Points Won||19/49 (39%)||25/40 (63%)|
|Total Points Won||34/89 (38%)||55/89 (62%)|
Thoughts on the Match
Always good to see Federer put the young guns in their place and I don't think he has lost to a player under the age of 21 since Del Potro at the US Open in 2009. Today wasn't really a schooling like we've seen against Tomic or Dimitrov but was still very one sided affair and Coric never had much of a foothold in the match. He was rushed at the back of the court and had no answers; clearly he's a good defender and makes a lot of balls but he had no shot to attack Roger with and the Swiss had the measure of him.
In terms of what Roger produced on the court I thought he had a pretty good gameplan; attacking whenever he had a chance, hugging the baseline and definitely going for his shots when he had chance. There were certainly a few wild forehands and a few too many double faults thrown in to ramp up the error count but it was clean enough to only drop 4 games and record a comprehensive victory.
Predictions vs. Djokovic
In the final Djokovic will be the opponent after he defeated Berdych in 3 sets. I didn't see the match but Djoker obliterated the Czech in the first set 6-0. Berdych hit back in the second to take it 7-5 (he got broken serving for it at 5-4 too) but Djokovic proved too strong taking the decider 6-4.
Always a coin flip between these two players so really hard to call and I'm not really sure who has the advantage coming in. Fed hasn't been tested really or spent much time on court whereas Djoker had a 2 hour match against Berdych. So whilst Fed is probably fresher of the two both physically and mentally, Novak will have a bit more rhythm and more match hardened.
I think the match as usual will hinge on how well Roger can defend his second serve and just how well he moves from the corners of the court. If he's explosive and constantly forcing the issue I like his chances but if it's Djokovic doing the damage from the back of the court his odds of winning drop dramatically.
Should be a fun match as it usually is between the two and if it's anything like last years encounter we'll no doubt have some high quality rallies and perhaps even more chip charging from Fed to see what Djoker can produce on the pass. I think Djokovic might just edge it in 3 but of course hoping for a Fed win 🙂
Remember it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how many times you can get passed at the net but keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Allez!