Roger Federer and David Goffin will be going head-to-head for the fourth time in their careers when they collide in the last 16 of the Australian Open on Sunday. Federer is sweeping the head-to-head series 3-0, including 2-0 on hard courts and 1-0 in Grand Slams. They first faced each other at the 2012 French Open, with Federer overcoming a star-struck opponent 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4. The Swiss later prevailed in back-to-back years with home-court advantage indoors in Basel, where he won 6-2, 6-2 in the 2014 title match and 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 last fall.
Goffin had a tough time punching his ticket into another showdown with his idol. The Belgian lost his opening set to Sergiy Stakhovsky and during one stretch in the second round he dropped 10 of 11 games to Damir Dzumhur. Goffin then picked up the pace to win a much higher-quality four-setter against Dominic Thiem on Friday.
Federer has endured no such trouble, although he was unspectacular in a four-set defeat of Grigor Dimitrov during third-round action. The 34-year-old preceded that performance with straight-set beatdowns of Nikoloz Basilashvili and Alexandr Dolgopolov.
“If you want to go in the quarterfinal you have to play a big match and you have to give everything,” Goffin commented. “So I just have to be focused on what I have do, like every match, to be aggressive and take every opportunities as I can.”
The underdog may have a few opportunities for several reasons. First, Federer was not in peak form against Dimitrov. Second, Goffin should be sky-high on confidence in the aftermath of his showing against Thiem. Lastly, this is his fourth time meeting Federer and he will likely be less psyched out than he was in the previous three. In the end, though, Federer will have too much firepower.
Prediction – Federer in four sets
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