ATP Masters 1000Roger FedererRome Masters

Federer Fights Through Coric at Internazionali BNL d’Italia

The Swiss came from a set down and saved two match points to make the Quarter Finals

Two matches, two match points saved and two wins for Roger Federer on day five of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia as the Swiss came out on a top with a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7) win in a dramatic match against Borna Coric to reach the quarter-finals.

Returning to the courts around four hours after his impressive win against Sousa in the second round Roger made a ropey start finding himself down 4-0 and struggling to stay with the Croatian from the baseline. However, he recovered to force a decider before eventually prevailing in the tie break after 2 hours and 31 minutes.

The third seed will next meet Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday for a place in the semi-finals.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Coric Rome 2019

Federer won the toss and chose sides. Coric elected to receive. At 40-0 love, a comfortable hold looked imminent but Coric won five points in a row to break for 1-0.

A hold to thirty put the Croat up 2-0 and he was soon in relatively uncharted territory with a double break for 3-0.

Coric consolidated for 4-0 which quickly turned into 5-2 with Federer looking rather annoyed that people were allowed into the stadium to take their seats during points.

At the changeover, Roger called for the physio to tape up his thumb on the right hand for what appeared to be a blister. Upon resumption, Coric served out the set to fifteen to take it 6-2.

With 13 errors in the first set, Roger needed to settle quickly into set two and despite getting into a mini argument with Carlos Bernardes about the court being too wet after it was watered, he held for 1-0.

Coric then levelled to fifteen and the pair exchanged further holds with no inroads for the returner. In game six Roger came up with some insane defence to set up a break point at 30-40 and although Coric saved it, the Swiss was able to convert his second later in the game for a 4-2 lead.

Roger then slipped to 0-40 in game seven but he somehow managed to hold, firing a sweet forehand to make deuce before holding for 5-2.

A quick Coric game immediately put the pressure back on Federer’s shoulders and this time he couldn’t escape, again slipping to 0-40 with some passive play as Coric broke back.

It looked like Coric had snatched momentum with those two quick games but he inexplicably dropped his own serve as Federer broke to take the set 6-4 and force a decider.

Into the decider and a hold to fifteen put Roger in front for the first time in the match. A poor backhand miss at 15-30 then saw him miss a chance for two break points as Coric levelled at 1 a piece.

Back to back aces from 30-15 gave Roger the hold for 2-1 but a love hold from Coric put him level at 2-2 and he created the first break chance of set thanks to a solid return.

Roger saved it to hold and had to do the same again in game nine after a poorly executed drop shot had given Coric 30-40.

A classy hold in game eleven, that featured an immense drop shot guaranteed Roger at least a tie break before Coric made it 6 all with a hold to love.

Into the break and Roger’s forehand that was good one minute, terrible the next overshot the mark on the first point.

Fortunately, he was able to recover it instantly but Coric was soon back in front with another break for 3-1. That was quickly 5-2 and Roger had to produce two slick points to keep the gap to just one mini-break at 4-5.

An extremely passive point from Roger gave Coric 6-4 and a match point on his serve but Roger’s slice backhand saved it to keep him alive.

The Swiss then delivered two more solid points, a big serve and then a crunching forehand to give himself a match point at 7-6

Coric saved it to make 7-7 but a tight looking forehand gave Federer the chance and he sealed it with a forehand pass. Sweet!

Match Stats

  Borna Coric Roger Federer
Aces 5 9
Double Faults 3 2
1st Serve 60% (56/93) 57% (62/109)
1st Serve Points Won 79% (44/56) 63% (39/62)
2nd Serve Points Won 57% (21/37) 60% (28/47)
Break Points Saved 50% (2/4) 63% (5/8)
Service Games Played 15 15
1st Serve Return Points Won 37% (23/62) 21% (12/56)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 40% (19/47) 43% (16/37)
Break Points Converted 38% (3/8) 50% (2/4)
Return Games Played 15 15
Winners 29 33
Unforced Errors 35 42
Net Points Won 57% (8/14) 64% (14/22)
Service Points Won 70% (65/93) 61% (67/109)
Return Points Won 39% (42/109) 30% (28/93)
Total Points Won 53% (107/202) 47% (95/202)

Why We’re All Federer Fans 🙂

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Rome 3R 2019

The first set was really difficult, for me at least. I really struggled to see the ball. There was a lot of shade on the court… and he did well, he’s a very steady player. I couldn’t chase the lines very well so I couldn’t hit any winners, but I really tried to play in a way where I was not going to just lose it. I gave him a chance to win, and he didn’t so I took it at the end. It was very tight. I got very lucky again today already like in Madrid. It’s nice to get lucky I guess sometimes. I’ve lost a lot of heartbreakers throughout the years so it’s nice to win these and the atmosphere was fantastic. People were going crazy. It’s exactly how you want the atmosphere to be. Federer on his victory over Coric

Whoopa! A great win here for Roger and one of those matches he really should have lost but somehow managed to win.

I think he said it perfectly himself in that he played quite conservatively which gave Coric the chance to get over the line but he didn’t take it and Roger capitalised.

In terms of quality, it wasn’t an all-time classic as both guys were a little up and down and I never got the feeling Fed felt totally comfortable out there.

The first set was a bit of a disaster as the combination of bright sunshine and shadow from the trees around the stadium made it tricky to see the ball, couple that with fans entering the stadium during points and being broken from 40-0 up in the first game you had one angry dude who looked in danger of letting the match slip away.

Luckily Coric wasn’t in a ruthless mood and he let his level drop in the second set with his forehand making errors off Federer’s tricky slices.

That gave Roger the route back in he needed and although he never found the type of tennis he needs to play to give himself the best chance of winning on clay, he produced just enough of the good stuff to sneak through.

The two clutch points at 2-5 followed by the two at 5-6 in the tie break were especially important and his use of the slice to disrupt Coric from the back of the court was probably the key to coming out on top. Roger’s topspin backhand was landing short and getting dispatched with ease so it was more out of necessity rather than variety but it worked and without Coric’s forehand leaking those errors when faced with the lower skidding ball I don’t think he’d be heading to the locker room with a W next to his name 🙂

Predictions vs. Fognini or Tsitsipas

Next up is Stefanos Tsitsipas who defeated Fabio Fognini in straight sets. The Greek has had a stellar clay court season winning Estoril and making the final in Madrid so he’s match tough on this surface.

The H2H is tied at 1-1, both matches being earlier this year and I’d usually rate this one as a 50/50. However given Roger played 5 sets yesterday, the latter 3 being quite physical I don’t think it will be easy to recover.

Tsitisipas had it fairly easy in his two matches, he’s the younger guy, has a bit more power from the baseline and is in good form so I make him the favourite.

Roger was unable to hit through Coric yesterday who was able to play deep behind the baseline and still get plenty behind the ball. Stefanos is also a solid mover who can play deep but he also likes to come forward when he has the chance so it will be interesting to see what Roger can come up with to get Tsitsipas out of his comfort zone. 

Fed Rome

What did you guys think of the match? Let me know in the comments!


Editor of Perfect Tennis and a big fan of Roger Federer, I've spent countless hours watching and analysing his matches. Alongside playing the sport, I also enjoy writing about the tour, rackets, strings, and the technicalities of the game. Whether it's breaking down the latest tournament results or discussing the latest gear innovations, I'm always eager to share my insights with fellow tennis enthusiasts.

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  1. Well done Roger.
    I’ve seen some of the second set and it looked as though Roger was bothered and not really into it.
    Backhand was very unstable. Glad he managed to fight himself into some rallies.
    I hope tomorrow will be a better day for Roger

    1. Most of first set and some of second he was a bit annoyed at stuff, crowd, shadows, wet court, level of play. But managed to not let it get too out of hand!

  2. Not the best performance but at 37, two wins in a day – we’ll take that. Thanks!
    And thanks for the write-ups!

    Reminded of why I follow Federer. You know he’s never going to give up. Even when he’s not totally in the mode, he’ll fight. As he was losing set 1, I felt he would win set two. And when it seemed he’d lose the tiebreak, I still felt he could do it.

    Go Roger!

    Seeing as it looks like Rafa is floating through, why fight the thought of a Fedal semi. We all want Fed to tomorrow – so perhaps a Fedal semi would be quite exciting!

  3. Yess two wins in a day is fantastic!
    Especially enjoyed the tie break after Madrid and Roger’s fighting spirit. He cool and style made it most.
    Go Roger!

  4. Best of 5 today and he came thru. Well done Rog. I’ll take the luck. After Thiem we cld do with some going our way. Great defence today when back against he wall, and great mind set in TB. Wld not lose.
    Cld do with more free points on serve tho. Coric was dispatching those served with ease 😬
    So it’s Stef again. 4th time this year I believe… Fed to dispatch him in 2 sets please.

    1. Hope so but Tsisty been in good form on clay. Interested to see how Fed plays. Stefanos can defend deep but also move in and attack. Quite a tricky match up.

  5. Looking at those stats, I can’t believe he won! 47% of the points!

    I’m not having much luck today: Jon posted the first one when I was en route to the office, and I was just leaving to catch my bus when the push notification for the second came through!

    Wonder when Roger’s actually going to play tomorrow? I see the Fog/Tsitsi match has actually finished – how longer after Fog had finished his first, I don’t know.

  6. A fantastic training for FO so far. And yes, the tools are there. Hopefully the court conditions and Tennis Gods will be in favor of even more – yes a Fedal Semi would be a dream-nailbiter!

    1. NK is hilarious. Sure today was a bit stupid but he’s clearly good for the game. I think he needs to become a bit more like Ronnie O’Sullivan though – still do daft shit from time to time and be himself, but back it up with more serious matchplay and win more as he clearly has the tools to do it.

      The podcast was funny as he obviously said what a lot of people think 😆 although Rothenberg was clearly using him there to get eyeballs on his work. Been tweeting about it non stop, he hasn’t had a boner that strong since that thing he does the podcast with bent over to pick up a pencil in the press room.

      1. Maybe a lot of people think that, but that doesn’t mean it’s nice to go around saying it all the time (or even once, for that matter). It’s unelegant and embarrassing for the subjects he mentioned. I would certainly feel embarrassed if I were Roger. About Novak: no one admits before the others the jealeousy (add also envy if you like) towards someone; sometimes we don’t even like to admit it to ourselves because deep down we know it’s not right. About Nadal: no likes to hear someone saying publicly that you’re not a nice person, even if only under a certain circumstance. It’s wrong.
        Many players have quarrels between them and it’s normal, but one thing it to deal with it face-to-face; a total different one is come to the public and demean/accuse the other. It won’t give rise to any criminal prosecution but Nick is putting himself at a position where many players will dislike him. Unless you’re masochistic, no one likes to be disliked (except if you are like Stepanek just to name one).
        It’s a matter of education and Nick clearly lacks it, which is a shame because with the talent he has he could be someone many young players would look up to. Maybe some do, but I don’t put my hands in the fire as far as their character is concerned…
        (OK, maybe I’m going the same path, but this blog is not a public broadcast service and this exchange of opinions is a semi-private conversation. Certainly it’s not a set of public statements. At least mine are not).
        Hugs and kisses.

      2. I agree about the face to face thing. If Kyrgios would say the same thing to their faces, he can say whatever he likes for me. If he wouldn’t, then he’s a bit of a clown.

      3. Roger knows the kind of potential and value special K possesses and so treats him accordingly (specially). Everything out of his mouth is measured and even tho he may cop a bit of backlash now, special K has to see Federer backing him for him to return the favor in the future (with Laver Cup and what have you).

  7. You are working very hard today Jonathan.Great write ups.
    So glad Fed won this one.I find Coric rather dislikable,there is a quiet arrogance there I think,plus his game is as
    boring as hell.
    So Tsisy tomorrow.
    Feds going to have his work cut out !The Greek is in form and moving well,his volleys are superb.
    He had the later match but he is 17 years younger.Seems incredible writing that.
    Still I am sure that Fed will give his all and no one can ask more than that.😊

    1. 2 posts in a day, no rest for the wicked.

      I don’t mind Coric, he’s just a Djokovic clone but he seems able to keep fairly calm and steady. Never going to see magic from his racquet but rock solid.

  8. It was a heart racing match to watch especially in the first set. You could tell the shadows were bothering him and the crowd coming and going was distracting. For less experienced players it would be hard to handle and reset. Also playing in Grandstand is more difficult than Centrale where you would make an effort to have the top 3 players playing there. Federer is so popular all over the globe that fans want to see him on centre court. And yes after 20 Grand Slams seniority and privileges should be granted.

    I believe that’s what cost him Wimbledon when Djoykovic complained to tournament organizers that he was not playing on Centre Court and they moved Federer to another court he had not played on in over 3 years! How insulting to an 8 time Wimbledon and returning Champion defending his title to move him and not other players and/or keep the “Joker” in his jealous lane…

    Relieved he was able to regroup from all the distractions and fight to come on top after 2 matches 4 hours apart playing younger aggressive players! Well done Jonathan for your match rendition and to Rogers win!!!

    1. I agree Fed needs to be on the show courts in the main, but adapting to conditions and environment is part of the game. So blaming the Wimbledon loss on that is a bit sour grapes 🙂 He wasn’t winning Wimbledon last year even if he played on centre, his FH was not good enough.

      1. Yep, absolutely. In a sense, Roger’s been spoilt all these years through being on the show courts, and it must be disconcerting, to say the least, suddenly to have to deal with the change of scenery and conditions. But as you say, Jon, that’s part and parcel of the conditions, and he has to adapt if it happens. Would the Wimbledon result have been different if he’d been on Centre? Possibly – it might have made the difference to the odd point here or there, and it could have been a vital point. And I’d have said Djokovic wasn’t playing well enough to win Wimbledon last year, too – but look what happened. You takes your chances …

    2. Seniority and privileges? Are you serious?
      Are we in a retirement home or still in active sport?
      Is Fed really so old, he needs someone to help him with his pampers?

      I think, this is just disrespectful – all those privileges

      People distracting Verdasco (35) and Thiem (ranked first after Big3 and second man on clay) on Pietrangeli (would Federer be able to win a game or two in these conditions?) is OK. But who dares to bother the (almost retired) God ?

      It’s not about Sport’s Greatness, it’s even not about Big Ego of Great Federer, it’s about Big Money .

      BTW – there is some special tour (for retired Legends), where privileges or oldies are right on place. Not on ATP Tour.

      If some day Federer is called Jesus of Tennis, he shouzld have privilege of playing only in the biggest church in town.

      Don’t forget, this is not One-Man-Circus.

  9. What a match, for a moment there thought Roger will be going home as he looked tired at 4/4 in the 3rd set. Luckily he was able to muster reserves to snatch the match away from Coric with some great shots and grit. Hope he can recover in time against Tsitsipas, it’s been very tiring 24 hours

  10. Nail biting stuff, though as you said not consistently at the highest level. Tough loss for Coric, but glad to see our guy gritting it out, especially after that somewhat demoralizing 1st set. Yes, the shadows on the court were awful. Tomorrow’s match at about the same time I think, but on a different court.

    Dunno what to think about tomorrow’s match. Tsitsi has bee doing really well; should be a good match for our guy no matter which way it turns out. Nadal & Djokovic both lurking beyond & looking impregnable… I’d like Rog to win of course, but if he doesn’t, he got 3 matches in, and is looking pretty good.

    1. I could hardly see the ball in the first set, not good for watching on TV at all.

      Nadal has been ultra-efficient, not seen his matches to know if he’s playing great or his opponents are just whipping boys.

  11. I think that this is the first time ever that Roger wins the match having won less points than the opponent. Epic way to do so.

  12. Two wins the same day,  being 15 years older than his opponent who didn’t play in the morning, coming back from one set to love, delivering a “mental lesson” to win the final fantastic tie break, a new qualification for a M1000 QF this year (on supposedly his weakest surface), this deserved a new poem …

    “2019 Rome film festi-ball”
    Screenwriter, director and fans’ favourite actor : Roger-the-Great

    Wednesday – no match to maintain :
    not playin’ the game

    Thursday morning :
    The LEOPARD’s dancing
    lots of joy, we’re feeling

    Thursday : in the shade of stone pines
    What a frightening fight !

    Thank God, Friday – the Greek !
    Do you feel the heartbeat ?
    An Aussie Jan. defeat  to avenge and that’s it.

    Then, if all gods agree
    INVICTUS,  he will be
    In Saint Peter’s city.

    Still three  battles to win
    For the Swissest of dreams
    So that on  Sunday, we’ll sing :


    Good luck, Maestro !

  13. I think that match exemplifies why Fed is such a great champion.
    Although Coric scored more points overall,Fed played the big points better.
    In the last three points of the tie break he held his nerve and his game was there when he needed it.
    He has lost a few really tight matches recently after having match points.
    Very confidence building that this one didn’t go the same way.

    1. Yeah Fed is under rated in tight matches. He won so many matches that could have been tricky easily, so when he loses a tight one it’s like oh he’s poor under pressure.

      Won 2 of his last 2 when down match points, nice!

  14. Late for the post match party but I’ve managed to catch up both recups and all comments!
    Even for a generally optimistic person, I momentarily lost a faith in him when he was broken in the TB cos Coric was very solid throughout the match. How dare me ever doubted him. Great wins and writing both Fed and you Jonathan 😀
    Have you guys watched the video of the crowd on the MP? It was like he won a Gland slam 😆

    1. Just saw that – almost universal support. It’s got to be tough for the opponent. I guess theyhave to just tune it out – but then they can’t pick up any crowd energy, either. Who was it who said years ago he just pretended they were chanting *his* name?

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