Roger Federer vs Borna Coric live streaming, preview and tips: Federer set to return to the Indian Wells Masters final despite gallant Coric

Hannah Wilks in ATP 16 Mar 2018
  • Roger Federer aims for his 17th straight win as he takes on Borna Coric in the semifinals of the Indian Wells Masters
  • Federer vs Coric BNP Paribas Open tennis is live from Indian Wells on Saturday at 11am local/6pm GMT
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Indian Wells at Unibet > sports > tennis
Roger Federer (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Roger Federer is out to attain the longest winning streak of his phenomenal career at the age of 36 as he takes on Borna Coric in the semifinals of the Indian Wells Masters on Saturday. 

Roger Federer vs Borna Coric BNP Paribas Open tennis is live from Indian Wells on Saturday at 11am local/7pm GMT. Watch and bet on tennis live from Indian Wells at Unibet > sports > tennis  

Should Roger Federer beat Borna Coric in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open, the first Masters 1000 Series event of the season, not only will Federer book his place in an eighth Indian Wells final, but he will extend his current unbeaten streak to 17 matches – the longest of his professional career. 

Federer was 12-0 coming into Indian Wells after winning the twentieth major title of his illustrious career at the Australian Open and capturing the title at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, which he entered in order to retake the world no. 1 ranking (which he did, becoming the oldest man ever to hold the top spot). Now he’s 16-0 for 2018 after reaching the semifinals in the California desert, equaling the former longest winning streak of his career, which came in 2006 (Federer won Doha and the Australian Open). And he has barely broken a sweat, to be honest, through four rounds at Indian Wells. Even a rain-interrupted match early in the tournament couldn’t disturb Federer too much, although he played probably his scratchiest tennis in a 6-3, 7-6(6) victory over Federico Delbonis. Filip Krajinovic wasn’t at his best in a 2-6, 1-6 third-round defeat, but against Jeremy Chardy in the round of 16 and Hyeon Chung in the quarterfinals, Federer was challenged – mildly. He just had all the answers on both occasions. 

The quarterfinal clash with Chung was eagerly anticipated because their semifinal encounter in Melbourne was scuppered by the foot blisters which saw the Korean retire trailing 1-6, 2-5. There were no such mitigating factors in Chung’s defeat on Thursday. The 23rd seed acquitted himself fairly well, gathering himself to break back and level at 3-3 after Federer raced to a 3-0 lead (better men than Chung have capitulated utterly under such circumstances). But Federer was simply too versatile, too aggressive and too accurate, eventually breaking Chung at the death of the first set and dominating the second set completely for a 7-5, 6-1 victory. 
‘I'm happy I found a way. Started off really well, struggled afterwards, found my game back again and was able to protect it, saving big break points early on in the second set. I think that was the key to the match, those 10-15 minutes where I broke at the end of the first and then saved break points early in the second,’ Federer said.  
‘I'm very happy. It was a good match. I played well.’

It was Rafael Nadal who broke Federer’s winning streak back in 2006. Twelve years later, it’s Borna Coric who has the unenviable task of attempting to fill Nadal’s shoes and stopping him getting a personal-best seventeenth straight victory when the two face off in the Indian Wells Masters semifinals.

Indian Wells Masters 2018 live stream: ATP tennis live from Indian Wells

This is Coric’s first Masters 1000 Series semifinal, and it has come out of nowhere despite the fact that the Croatian has long been talked about as a star of the future. His initial breakthrough came back in 2014 as a precocious teenager when he scored a number of impressive results, including qualifying for the US Open and reaching the second round and recording a victory over (an admittedly ailing) Nadal himself at the Swiss Indoors when ranked outside the top 100, and he would go on to beat Andy Murray in the course of a surprise run to the semifinals of Dubai as a lucky loser in early 2015, reaching a career-high ranking of world no. 33 in July of that year. 

Borna Coric  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
But that is still Coric’s career-high ranking as the Croatian rather plateau’d. He made two ATP World Tour finals at 250 events and a Masters 1000 Series quarterfinal in 2016 (beating Nadal again), then won his first ATP World Tour title in Marrakech in 2017 and reached the quarterfinals of the Madrid Masters (beating Murray again). Yet less experienced players of a similar age – the likes of Alexander Zverev - were breaking through to much higher levels and taking the spotlight and Coric seemed to be getting lost in the shuffle.

Although he is currently ranked world no. 50, that’s threatening to change in 2018 however. Coric started off his season with a top-10 win over Pablo Carreno Busta in Doha and since losing in the first round of the Australian Open, has won nine of his last ten matches, scoring two wins in Davis Cup against Canada, making the quarterfinals in Dubai and now on the run of his life at Indian Wells. Many have remarked on how gritty, slow and high-bouncing the courts are this year and it seems to be helping some of those who flourish on clay – Daria Kasatkina, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Coric, who dropped just nine games total through the first three rounds (beating Donald Young and seeds Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Roberto Bautista-Agut). Against Taylor Fritz in the fourth round Coric coped well with the loss of the second set and a hostile crowd, but it was in the quarterfinals that the 21-year-old Croatian really served notice (pun intended). Having never won a set against Kevin Anderson in three previous meetings, Coric was being utterly dictated to as he lost the first set 2-6, but broke in the very first game of the second set, highlighted by a delicate lob, and went on to level up as he deployed the very things Anderson can’t do – exceptional movement around the court, superb defense and variety of shot – against the seventh seed. He was broken to trail 2-4 in the third set, but bounced back superbly and immediately and in the third-set tie break, against a man who specializes in tie breaks, he was nerveless for a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) victory.

Coric will have to do it all again, and better, if he is to make it competitive against Federer in the semifinals, however. The two have played just once before, back in 2015 when it was Federer who stopped Coric’s brilliant lucky-loser run with a 6-2, 6-1 victory in the Dubai semifinals. Obviously things are very different now – Coric is no longer a precocious teenager – but in many ways, one fears they will be very much the same. As we saw in the match against Chung, a defender and counterpuncher can stay with Federer for a while – but unless they’re Novak Djokovic (or a truly inspired David Goffin on an indoors hard court), they’re probably not going to beat him: It just takes too much work for them to win as many points as they need to, compared to Federer’s much more attacking, efficient style. Anyone who was broken three times by Kevin Anderson is going to struggle to hold serve against Roger Federer, and Federer’s own serving has been pin-point this week – he didn’t lose a single point behind his first serve against Jeremy Chardy. Coric will get pushed back behind the baseline as Federer opens up the court, and then the world no. 1 will attack the net and drop a volley neatly into the space. Expect Federer to make it a seventeenth match win in a row on Saturday – and book his place in the Indian Wells Masters final once more. 

Federer vs Coric Indian Wells Masters tennis is live from Indian Wells on Saturday at 11am local/6pm GMT. Watch and bet on the match at Unibet > sports > tennis > Roger Federer vs Borna Coric

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Roger Federer vs Borna Coric live streaming, preview and tips: Federer set to return to the Indian Wells Masters final despite gallant Coric

Roger Federer vs Borna Coric live streaming, preview and tips for the Indian Wells Masters semifinal match on Saturday 16 March 2018: Coric has been on an inspired run but Federer can set a new personal best winning streak with victory in Saturday’s semifinals. We preview the match and show you how you can watch the match live and bet in-play.

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