Although Roger Federer finally won a match in straight sets at this year's Shanghai Masters, it didn't save him any energy. Given his two prior matches both went to three sets, it still shows that Federer hasn't been at his dominant best this week, even in quick conditions which should be to his liking.
Coric, who has only two career titles, has now beaten Federer twice - the previous time was in the final at Halle this year.
Novak Djokovic lined up a potential title showdown with Roger Federer after dismantling a shell-shocked Alexander Zverev 6-2, 6-1 on Saturday to surge into the Shanghai Masters final.
The 31-year-old Serbian is in imperious form and this was his 17th ATP victory in a row, as he taught rising German star Zverev a harsh lesson.
As predicted, Kevin Anderson failed to cause much of an impact on Novak Djokovic's serve, winning just 14/65 return points (22%) to continue his dire return data against the Serb, while Roger Federer managed to break Kei Nishikori three times in 11 return games to continue his propensity to break the Japanese man more than average.
The victor of the last two grand slams, Djokovic has been unstoppable in recent months and crushed Zverev 6-2 6-1 to set up a final meeting with either Roger Federer or Borna Coric.
Coric rallied and found the winning shot with a flicked cross-court forehand to enter his third senior final and his first at Masters level.
Alexander Zverev slides before playing a single-handed backhand to Novak Djokovic
Coric earned passage to the final by taking down the top-seeded Federer 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals on Saturday.
He exited the US Open in the last 16 at the hands of unheralded Australian John Millman, ranked 55th, and only made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.
Djokovic's win over Zverev and Federer's demise guaranteed Djokovic will move up from No 3 to No 2 in the world on Monday, which has him swapping positions with Federer, but still trailing Rafael Nadal.
"It's the best I've ever seen him play, there were no lapses in concentration, he struck the ball beautifully and there wasn't much Federer could do", said former British No. 1 Greg Rusedski afterwards, as reported by the British media.
"I must say I felt overall actually pretty good".
"I wasn't - I feel like - playing as well as I'm playing today", he warned.
Zverev became the first German to seal a spot in successive years in the season-ending event since six-times Grand Slam victor Boris Becker (1994-96).