Nadal remains on fire with Beijing title, Goffin triumphs in Tokyo

David Goffin finished runner-up at the Japan Open last fall. He certainly did not mind that the man who deprived him of the title, Nick Kyrgios, took his talents to Beijing this time around.

With Kyrgios facing Nadal in the China Open championship match, Goffin went up against Adrian Mannarino on Sunday afternoon and went one step farther in Tokyo than he did in 2016. The 11th-ranked Belgian got over the hump for the biggest title of his career, beating Mannarino 6-3, 7-5 to add 500 rankings points to a total that already had him in World Tour Finals contention. Goffin won 80 percent of his first-serve points, 71 percent of his second-serve points, and 58 percent of his second-serve return points to break the Frenchman on three occasions.

After one hour and 23 minutes, Goffin lifted his second winner’s trophy in the span of eight days–having triumphed last week in Shenzhen.

“It’s a really special trophy for me, as I won the tournament last week and now have again today,” Tokyo’s No. 4 seed explained. “It’s a special feeling at a tournament I like. I have a lot of happy memories in Tokyo. It’s difficult to describe my feelings. It’s important for me to stay fresh physically and mentally with potentially the ATP Finals ahead and then playing for Belgium in the Davis Cup final. I am ready fight and I want to keep winning.”

Winning, winning, and more winning has also been the name of the game for Rafael Nadal in recent weeks. Like Goffin, the reigning U.S. Open champion continued to rack up titles as he crushed Kyrgios 6-2, 6-1 in Sunday’s Beijing final. Nadal saved all four of the break points he faced and benefited from a poor serving performance by Kyrgios, who put in a mere 48 percent of his first deliveries and double-faulted five times.

“He played well; I played terrible,” Kyrgios stated. “He’s in great form. He just destroyed me today, so it was too good. I put in a pretty good week, had some good wins. It’s tough to find positives when you won three games in the final. But I guess there were positives. In the semifinal I played well, obviously beating [Alexander Zverev].”

Nadal is now almost 2,000 points clear of Roger Federer at the top of the rankings and has a 2,360-point lead in the race to year-end No. 1.

Beijing highlights:

Goffin interview:


23 Comments on Nadal remains on fire with Beijing title, Goffin triumphs in Tokyo

  1. Rafa gave Kyrgios a clinic and it was not for his bruised ego. Rafa gave him a croissant and a breadstick. 62 61.

    Vamos Rafa!

  2. Omg I’m so happy Goffin is healthy enough again to beat Mannarino — hope he keeps beating ones he should and thankful he got a 500 point Tokyo!

    Vamos Rafa! No one can beat him.

  3. How much better is this Rafa than the Rafa of AO? I would say he is playing at a different level altogether. That Rafa was still ‘raw’ in many aspects of his gane but THIS Rafa is so much more refined.

    I just watched the highlights again and my goodness, Rafa’s CC backhand is SO devastating. It has to the best CC backhand in the game when it is on. He hits it with so much power and can still get insane angles on it.

  4. Rafa had every tool in his toolbox and every shot in his arsenal working perfectly well the whole match; in fact the whole tournament! This is the first time I really feel this way about Rafa’s game, when in the past it’s either his FH or BH, or serve or ROS was/were not clicking well even when all other parts of his game/his shots were working well.

    His defense plus offense game is now at its very best, knowing exactly when to attack, and when to defend and moves his opponent around before launching another attack. His timing for moving to the net is just so perfect, many times I see him scoring full marks or almost when he’s there. What’s remarkable is his confidence in saving BPs, so calm and cool! His serve is just so reliable during such clutch moments. And, how on earth he can come up with such ROS to neutralize the scary big serves! He’s returning from so far back yet is quick enough to get to the next shot so often, unbelievable quickness and presence of mind, not to mention his anticipatory skills and point construction ability.

    I think this is the Rafa who is finally playing at his full or almost full potential, and, what a joy to behold! I find this Rafa playing more impressive tennis than his 2013 self, in fact better than ever (though may not be as quick or as powerful as his younger peak form self).

    PS. His FO 2017 form was just so unbelievable, from another planet, even better than his FO2008 form which I already considered it out of this world; little did I know his 31 yo self could triumph that 22 yo Rafa!

  5. Rafa is one of the best at the net. He exactly knows when to come in and he wins almost 80 percent point’s at the net. He is hughely underrated regarding his net prowess.

    There was a time when people went on and on about no hard court title for 3.5 years and now he has 2 back to back. His win at Beijing actually deserved 1000 points instead of 500. Too bad he got just 500 for that.

    Coming to Shanghai not sure if he will win 3 hc back to back…it happened last in 2013 north American hc swing . The draw is again tricky here at Shanghai. Hope no pouille again. Interesting to see ricky picking grigor to beat him.

  6. With the sky high confidence of Rafa ATM, I think he can play competitive to any types of hard court, may it be slow or a fast one 🙂 He has adapted his game so well on hardcourts so let’s just enjoy every match he plays. But Rafa must be cautious and stays injury free (that’s the most important) he’s played too many matches already and he must take a rest in between Shanghai and WTF.

  7. Skip Basel and probably Bercy. Right now, he looks untouchable from back of the court. The longer the rally, more aggressive he gets. BH CC is a killer shot. I wonder people are now more comfortable going to his forehand , the angles that BH CC is coming up with are just unplayable.

    • There are far too many tournaments in October, but I leave it to Rafa to decide. He is fit and free of injury at the moment so he might want to make the most of it and he seems to be enjoying himself. Rafa is all about momentum, the more he plays the deeper he gets into his groove. It showed in the first round in Beijing that he was a bit rusty, nearly losing to Pouille.

      If Rafa can hang in there and take his first WTF that would be great.

  8. I missed Ricky’s prediction on the Beijing final, just to see who was his favourite for the title. 😉

    • I was hoping Rafa might skip Bercy and Basel. Someone said here yesterday that Fed would have to win all of the tournaments he will play to try and get the #1 ranking. Rafa has put more distance between himself and Fed. I just don’t want him to overdo it. He’s done well to stay healthy and play a whole year.

      Ricky predicted Rafa to lose to Dimi in the quarterfinals. I don’t see that happening

  9. If Rafa skips Bercy and Basel and Fed wins both then they’ll be fighting to the wire at the WTF for YE #1 that would erase all the advantage Rafa has gained on Fed, so far, in points.

  10. I don’t think Rafa should skip both Basel and Paris. Lets see how he does at Shanghai first; I’m sure Rafa knows his body well enough whether he should play all the events or skips some.

    If he’s not spending too much time and energy during his matches perhaps it’s good that he can play and win as much as possible. The points he wins now may help him to extend his reign at no. 1 come next year. I’m sure Rafa doesn’t want to lose his no.1 ranking too soon, after working so hard to get back to no.1 again.

    It all depends on how well he feels physically, not pushing himself to the limit and then gets injured.

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