David and Goliath: On-fire Goffin sets Miami meeting with world No. 1

Prior to the start of this month’s BNP Paribas Open, David Goffin had never been past the quarterfinals of a Masters 1000 event. There was no reason to think anything different would transpire when Goffin found himself down match points against Frances Tiafoe in the Indian Wells second round. But he saved both, ended up surviving that showdown in a third-set tiebreaker, and the rest is history.

The red-hot Belgian reached the semis in the desert, knocking off Stan Wawrinka in the process before falling to Milos Raonic. With momentum in hand, Goffin has accomplished the same feat on Key Biscayne. Benefiting from Roger Federer’s withdrawal in what became a wide-open section of the Miami Open bracket, Goffin capitalized on the opportunity to coast into the last eight with straight-set victories over Marcel Granollers, Viktor Troicki, and Horacio Zeballos.

With the competition level amped up on Wednesday in the form of Gilles Simon, Goffin came up with all the answers and recovered from a set deficit to get the job done 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 in one hour and 57 minutes. The world No. 15 converted five of six break opportunities in the final two sets after missing all six of his chances in the opener.
“The first set it was tough because it was a good set with a good level,” Goffin assessed. “Gilles was really solid on his baseline, but I didn’t serve really well in the first set. I didn’t have any free points with my serve, so it was tough.

“I knew that the level was there and I had to keep going like this, just to stay more focused on some shots just to finish the points…. Then game after game I was feeling much better. The serve was there in the third set. Yeah, I think with the serve it was the key to win the third.”

Goffin will obviously have to do everything well in his semifinal date with Novak Djokovic on Friday. Djokovic, who has not lost in 2016 by anything other than retirement (to Feliciano Lopez in Dubai), crushed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday night.

The top-seeded Serb got broken only once, just as he did against Dominic Thiem one day earlier. But this time around it was far more straightforward; Djokovic had to fight off a bevy of break points (14 of 15 was the final tally) in the fourth round before facing only three against Berdych.
“The opening three or four games went over 20 minutes,” Djokovic reflected. “We both started with great intensity and concentration. I think we made each other play a lot…. I just managed to keep my composure and play the right shots at the right time.”

On the other side of the draw, Milos Raonic will square off against Nick Kyrgios on Thursday while Kei Nishikori battles Gael Monfils.

Photos courtesy of Miami Tennis News

20 Comments on David and Goliath: On-fire Goffin sets Miami meeting with world No. 1

  1. Kei did in early 2014 with semis in Miami and final in Madrid. He didn’t play Monte Carlo before Madrid though so I dunno if that would count.

  2. It was Berdych I’m pretty sure. He made the semis in Miami last year then made the Monte Carlo final then made the Madrid semis.

  3. Yes, Goffin playing great….but will make no difference against Joker….he’s at a whole different level than everyone else!

  4. Milosh “Bionic” Raonic did it just before Berdych.

    2014 Paris Masters final and 2015 Indian Wells semis.


  5. Thought Simon had it after the first set.
    Goffin. Pure wizardry in the end – especially those 6 aces in the decider. 9 total in the match for Goffin. 3 total for Simon.

    For any Goffin/Simon fan’s, sume YTD STATS:
    David Goffin VS. Gilles Simon
    70 Aces 35
    50 Double Faults 30
    60% First Serve Percent 62%
    71% 1st Serve Points Won 71%
    48% 2nd Serve Points Won 52%
    129 Break Points Faced 95
    63% Break Points Saved 69%
    198 Service Games Played 164
    76% Service Games Won 82%
    62% Service Points Won 64%
    32% 1st Serve Return Points Won 30%
    52% 2nd Serve Return Points Won 50%
    136 Break Points Opportunities 95
    43% Break Points Converted 37%
    202 Return Games Played 163
    29% Return Games Won 21%
    40% Total Service Points Won 37%
    51% Total Points Won 51%

    Congrats Goffin on back to back Masters SF’s!

    • Hawkeye,

      Thanks for posting the comments from Novak.

      I agree with you that it’s wishful thinking that Novak may be jaded or not feeling it or that he will burn out.

      Novak seems to have intense motivation to secure his own place in the history of this sport. He has been in the shadows of Rafa and Fed for a long time. I think he wants to make his mark.

      I think that when you win as much as Novak, you start to believe that you can’t lose. That aura of invincibility. I can see Novak seizing this opportunity now with the other top players not in their games. He has a good formula when it comes to how much he has to do to keep winning. He is able to conserve energy in the earlier rounds of tournaments and then save his best for the latter stages.

      Rafa was so good at doing that in his career. A player can’t expect to be at his best all the time. It’s a long tennis year. So it’s about pacing oneself.

      There are times when Novak could have just stayed static, but he has continued to improve in all aspects of his game. I appreciate that he’s been open to adding people to his team. He’s made a lot of good decisions.

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