Borna Coric is a set away from beating Roger Federer for the third time in four attempts. The 22-year-old Croatian broke Federer twice to take the opening set of their third-round match 6-2 on Thursday evening at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.
Coric beat Federer twice last year, at the Gerry Weber Open final in Halle (grass), and at the Rolex Shanghai Masters (hard). The Swiss, however, gained a 3-2 advantage in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series in February by winning their Dubai semi-final in straight sets. This is their first meeting on clay.
Federer is trying to go 2-0 in one day for the first time since 17 August 2018, when he won two matches in one day at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. The Swiss beat Portugal's No. 1 Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-3 earlier Thursday.
Rain washed out all play that was scheduled for Wednesday in Rome, and Federer, along with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, among others, will have win two matches in one day to reach the quarter-finals of the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome. Coric, however is one of four players who reached the third round before the deluge. He beat Brit Cameron Norrie in straight sets on Tuesday evening.