Croatia’s Borna Coric on Sunday claimed the Halle Open title after beating defending champion and world No. 1 Roger Federer of Switzerland 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 6-2 in the final match, effectively handing the top spot in the ATP ranking back to Spain’s Rafael Nadal.
It took world No. 34 Coric a little over two hours to claim his first grass court title at the Wimbledon tune-up tournament, as well as his first victory over Federer in their third career match, ending the Swiss player’s grass-court winning streak at 20.
The 21-year-old Croatian had started the tournament by beating world No. 3 Alexander Zverev of Germany, and finished by denying Federer his 99th career title.
Coric became only the sixth player to defeat Federer in a grass court final, joining Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Britain’s Andy Murray, Spain’s Rafael Nadal, Germany’s Tommy Haas and Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt.
Having already made history as the first Croatian to reach the final of the 26-year-old tournament, Coric also took revenge for his loss to Federer in the 2018 Indian Wells semifinal in March.
Federer, who was seeking his 10th Halle Open title and won the Mercedes Cup last week, had the opportunity to take the lead but squandered two set points in the break.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion seemed to have regained control of the match as he drew level thanks to a service break in the eighth game of the second set.
However, Federer conceded his serve twice in the third set – in the sixth and eighth games – and although he managed to save a match point, the second did the trick for Coric, giving him his second career title.