I feel like I just woke up – Indian Wells finalist Federer explains slow start
Roger Federer is clearly a man who needs his sleep after the world number one provided an insight into why he was slow out of the blocks against Borna Coric before rallying to reach the Indian Wells Masters final.
Defending champion Federer preserved his perfect record in 2018 but the 20-time grand slam winner was far from perfect in his hard-fought 5-7 6-4 6-4 victory, which got underway on Saturday morning.
Federer lost the opening set 7-5 – the first set he has dropped all tournament – against the talented Croatian, who was pegged back in the second before breaking to love in the opening game of the third.
Coric broke again for a 4-3 lead after Federer responded but a double fault allowed the Swiss star to level and eventually improve to 17-0 for the year.
Explaining his slugging start at Indian Wells, Federer – who will meet Juan Martin del Potro in the decider – cited Saturday's 11:00 (local time) as a possible reason.
"It was early today," the evergreen 36-year-old said afterwards. "I feel like I just woke up.
"It was definitely a change of the rhythm. You have to force yourself to go to bed early, because you know you're trying everything just to be really ready for an 11:00 start.
"I woke up early this morning, got out, practiced and tried to get a sweat going. It's just different, and different is good sometimes.
"Borna played a great match. He was very steady. I can see why he caused a lot of problems to a lot of players, and he's only going to improve from here."
Federer continued: "When you are confident and experienced and you have that combination, there's no real need to panic because you can assess the situation quite easily. You're understanding that the opponent is playing better. It's breezy. It's hard to play offense. He was defending well.
"It was a close match even in the second set. If you look back at how many close calls we had in the important moments, things could have shifted either way for both of us.
"But you need to have a very positive mindset. You need to be match-tough, you need to be confident, have experience, and I think I have a bit of all of that right now, and I think that's the reason I won again today. But it didn't come easy."