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Roger Fed­erer ad­mit­ted that he was lack­ing “punch” af­ter he was turfed out of the Shang­hai Mas­ters semi-fi­nals on Satur­day by 13thseeded Borna Coric. The Croa­t­ian stunned the Swiss great 6-4, 6-4 in what was an un­usu­ally er­ror-strewn per­for­mance from the 20-time Grand Slam cham­pion.

The 21-year-old Coric will face No­vak Djokovic in Sun­day’s fi­nal af­ter the Serb thrashed Alexan­der Zverev 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 Kei Nishikori in two high­qual­ity 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.

In con­trast, Coric — who is into his first Mas­ters 1000 fi­nal — was largely un­trou­bled on his serve. Fed­erer won the Aus­tralian Open at the start of this year but has had a medi­ocre sea­son by his sky­high stan­dards. He ex­ited the US Open in the last 16 at the hands of un­her­alded Aus­tralian John Mill­man, ranked 55th, and only made the quar­ter-fi­nals at Wim­ble­don.

Coric has now beaten Fed­erer twice — the pre­vi­ous time was in the fi­nal at Halle this year.

Rulth­less Djokovic

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

He 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 No. 1 spot be­fore the year is out.

Roger Fed­erer hits a re­turn against Borna Coric (top left) in their sin­gles semi-fi­nal match at the Shang­hai Mas­ters on Satur­day

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