Roger Federer fell short of reaching his fourth Rolex Shanghai Masters final on Saturday, losing in straight sets to the ever-improving Borna Coric. And while the loss is disappointing, the top seed is taking positives from his first event since the US Open.
“I must say I felt overall actually pretty good. So I'm happy about that,” Federer said. “It's definitely something I can build on now for Basel and then for London and maybe Paris. I'm happy how the body has felt this week.”
Federer, who is next scheduled to play at the Swiss Indoors Basel (begins 22 October), a tournament he has won eight times, will drop to No. 3 in the ATP Rankings on Monday, with Novak Djokovic ascending to the No. 2 spot. But the Swiss did well to battle through two tough three-setters against Daniil Medvedev and Roberto Bautista Agut in Shanghai before showing some of his best form in ousting red-hot Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.
“I'm actually happy. I feel like I'm explosive out there, returning well. Serving, I think, it's okay, could be even a little bit better. I don't think I played a match where I didn't get broken, so that's something a bit more unusual for me,” said Federer, who has already guaranteed his spot at the Nitto ATP Finals. “But regardless, I think the court allowed for great ball striking. I felt like I got some great rhythm, whereas in Cincinnati I came out of the tournament, I was, like, ‘I don't know where my game is. It's the finals. Not bad. But I couldn't tell you if I'm hitting the ball well or not'.”
Federer is referring to this year’s Western & Southern Open where he lost to Djokovic in the final as the Serbian completed his Career Golden Masters by lifting the only ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy he was missing. Perhaps the one thing the Swiss will focus on moving forward is holding serve.
The 37-year-old began the week fifth all-time in service games won at 88.8 per cent, according to Infosys ATP Scores & Stats. This week, he was victorious in 41 of 50 service games, a rate of 82 per cent. Coric broke Federer twice in the semi-finals.
“He didn't give me many chances on his serve, and for me to stay with him, I should have maybe done a better job on my own serve,” Federer said. “But then again, it wasn't bad either. And then in the rallies, I thought he had more punch than me. Maybe it's a lot of tennis this week, but quite honestly, I'm happy how I'm playing… This was a good week again. I'm happy about my reaction after the US Open.”
As simple as it sounds, Coric was simply the better player on Saturday evening. For Federer, there’s no big secret about it.
“I thought he was better. I think he had more punch on the ball. He served better,” Federer said. “I think that's it.”
It's good that you're happy Roger, but your fans are once again left disappointed.
It's been a disappointing 2nd of 2018 in that regard.
I had a feeling Coric might be tough, I was hoping Roger would be able to put up a bit more of a fight.
But I guess sometimes there's not much even Roger can do when someone is better on a given day.
Onward to Basel, and maybe Paris?.