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Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Semi-Final 2: Roger Federer vs Borna Coric, Preview and Prediction

ANALYST
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493   //    01 Mar 2019, 14:48 IST

Coric has had Federer's number in recent times
Coric has had Federer's number in recent times

In the second semi-final of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the seven-time champion Roger Federer will meet the 22-year-old Croatian Borna Coric who is looking to make it a hat-trick of wins against the Swiss.

The two players have met each other four times. Federer won the first two matches and Coric has won the last two. Their very first meeting was here at Dubai in 2015, when Coric was just beginning to make a name for himself on the ATP tour. Expectedly, he got a thrashing from the Swiss maestro and could only win three games in the match.

Much has changed since then for Coric. He is now regarded as one of the best young players in the world. He is ranked world number 13 and if he remains fit, that is only going to go upwards.

In 2018, the pair met three times. Federer won the first one at Indian Wells Masters, though Coric gave him a run for his money by winning the first set and staying competitive in the remaining two. Following that, Coric got the better of Federer at the Halle Open final in three sets and at the Shanghai Masters in straight sets.

But neither player has played much this season. This is Federer’s first tournament after his fourth-round exit at the Australian Open. Coric too lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open, after which he has played only one match, at the Marseille Open, which he lost.

In this tournament too, neither has looked especially impressive. Federer has had quite a few of his now-customary lapses. Though his quarter-final match against Marton Fucsovics was a straight-sets affair, it was a far-from-commanding performance.

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships - Day Twelve
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships - Day Twelve

In fact, Fucsovics had multiple set points in the first set and even in the second set, the Hungarian came back from a break down. It was only when Federer broke him in a long ninth game of the second set that the match took a final decisive turn.

Coric too has had a very rough journey so far. All his matches have gone to a deciding set and each of those sets has ended in a tie-break, which the Croatian has managed to win.

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Two positives that he can take from his matches so far are that he has been able to win the crucial moments and that after a really poor performance in the first match where he barely managed to keep his first serves in, his first serve numbers have risen dramatically.

Moreover, he must draw inspiration from his last two wins against Federer and the prospect of making it an unprecedented hat-trick of victories against the Swiss maestro should inspire him to elevate his game.

Prediction: Roger Federer to win in 3 Sets

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