Federer will also relinquish the No.1 ranking to Rafael Nadal on Monday due to the loss.
A few missed opportunities in the first set could have been critical for Federer in the end—after the two players held the first 10 games without even facing a break point, Federer finally got one on Coric’s 5-all service game but couldn’t convert—he also had double set point up 6-4 in the tie-break.
But Coric snuck that first set tie-break out, and after Federer retaliated to win in the second set, Coric bounced back, winning four straight games from 2-all in the third set to close it out, 7-6 (6) 3-6 6-2.
Coric raised his arms in triumph after Federer missed a forehand volley into the net on match point.
“In the tie-break I think I was just a little bit lucky, to be honest,” Coric said. “I saved two set points, and one of them I was actually just really, really lucky. I needed some luck today—but that’s tennis.
“But I think I was serving the best I have in my whole life. I was feeling very confident and hitting the spots I wanted to hit, which isn’t very usual for me. Hopefully I can continue to serve like that now.”
WATCH—Championship point from Coric's win over Federer in Halle:
This wasn’t Coric’s first win over a World No. 1—he’d beaten Andy Murray at Madrid last year—but it was his first win over Federer in three tries, and the 500-level grass-court title is the second and biggest title of his career. His first title came at Marrakech—a 250-level clay court event—last April.
“It’s been the most unbelievable week of my whole life,” Coric declared. “I was playing very, very well the whole week, and I was also serving big today. I’m just very pleased with the whole week now.”
Federer, meanwhile, was denied a 99th career title, and will have to wait another year for a 10th Halle title (he’d won here nine times before in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017).
And by not defending his champion’s points this week, he’ll go from No. 1 to No. 2 on the ATP World Tour Rankings on Monday. Nadal will return to the top spot and head into Wimbledon ranked No. 1.
“Coric played quality tennis at the very end of that first set and then in the third, he never really dropped his level and that was it,” Federer told ATPWorldTour.com after the match. “So, it was an unfortunate match for me, but credit to Borna to really come out and play a tough match today.”
Coric, meanwhile, is projected to rise from his current ranking of No. 34 to approximately No. 21, shattering his previous career-high of No. 28 and guaranteeing him a seed at The Championships.
A LANDMARK DOCUMENTARY DURING THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS EVENT IN SPORTS, CELEBRATING THE UNPARALLELED FEDERER-NADAL RIVALRY AND 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREATEST MATCH EVER PLAYED.
In association with All England Lawn & Tennis Club, Rock Paper Scissors Entertainment and Amblin Television. Directed by Andrew Douglas.