Roger Federer turfed out of the Shanghai Masters semifinals on Saturday, going down 4-6 4-6 to Borna Coric in an unusually error-strewn performance.
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 No 2 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 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 nevertheless with his form.
In contrast, Coric – who is into his first Masters 1000 final – was largely untroubled on his serve.
Coric, who has only two career titles, has now beaten Federer twice – the previous time was in the final at Halle this year.