DUBAI (TIP): Roger Federer’s bid to extend his record of Dubai Open titles to seven carried him into the semifinals with record-breaking speed and to a meeting with the new wunderkind of tennis.
It took only 20 minutes on Thursday for the 17-time Grand Slam champion to win the first set 6-1 against Richard Gasquet, whereupon the Frenchman shuffled up to the net, offered his hand, and retired, suffering with a bad back.
It was disappointingly anti-climactic but it did create the intriguing prospect of Federer facing Borna Coric, the 18-year-old Croatian who only got into the main draw as a lucky loser, but who has now become the youngest semifinalist in the tournament’s 23-year history. Coric, described by world number one Novak Djokovic as “definitely one of the most talented players in the world right now”, scored a trampling 6-1, 6-3 success over former Wimbledon and US Open champion Andy Murray. Federar says Coric plays a little like Djokovic. “I agree he is more into the Djokovic kind of type of player from the baseline, very steady,” Federer said.