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Federer stunned by 13th seed Coric in Shanghai semi-finals

AFP  |  Shanghai 

admitted that he was lacking "punch" after he was turfed out of the Masters semi-finals on Saturday by 13th-seeded

The Croatian stunned the Swiss great 6-4, 6-4 in what was an unusually error-strewn performance from the 20-time champion.

The 21-year-old will face Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final after the Serb thrashed 6-2, 6-1, leapfrogging Federer to number two in the world rankings.

Federer has not been at his best all week, dropping sets in the two opening matches of his wobbly title defence.

The 37-year-old top seed was more like his old self on Friday, defeating eighth seed in two high-quality sets.

But he made a slow start against Coric, ranked 19 in the world, getting broken in the first game.

There was a subtle shake of the head when Federer similarly lost his serve at the start of the second set.

"I thought he was better, I think he had more punch on the ball. He served better," said Federer, proclaiming himself pleased overall with his form.

"I feel like I'm explosive out there, returning well," he added.

"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." In contrast, -- who is into his first Masters 1000 final -- was largely untroubled on his serve.

Federer won at the start of this year but has had a mediocre season by his sky-high standards.

He exited in the last 16 at the hands of unheralded Australian John Millman, ranked 55th, and only made the quarter-finals at Coric, who has only two career titles to his name, has now beaten Federer twice -- the previous time was in the final at Halle this year.

- Ruthless Djokovic -

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Celebrating his 1,000th match in style, the 14-time winner Djokovic was clinical against a shell-shocked Zverev.

The 31-year-old is in imperious form and this was his 17th ATP victory in a row, as he taught the rising German star a lesson.

Djokovic will be up to second in the world when the new rankings are released on Monday, but he is desperate to take injured Rafael Nadal's number one spot before the year is out.

The Serb, who had in February but recovered to win and then last month, said: "Being number two after this tournament is also a great achievement, considering the first four, five months of the year and considering I had the

"And where I was about four months ago and where I am today is quite an extreme opposite." The 21-year-old Zverev made an iffy start, beginning his first service game with a double-fault.

The world number five -- who beat Djokovic in their only previous meeting, last year in the Masters final -- recovered his poise for a time.

The first set went with serve, and some big serves at that, until Djokovic grabbed the break to go 4-2 up.

Zverev threatened to unravel and conceded the set in barely 30 minutes after landing a routine smash into the net, to gasps from the arena.

The fourth seed, who is yet to win a despite his undoubted talent, angrily threw his racquet at the start of the second set as Djokovic ramped up the pressure.

An increasingly exasperated Zverev issued more punishment to his racquet at 3-1 down, earning a code violation and tossing the battered piece into the crowd.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, October 13 2018. 20:10 IST
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