Both winners on Monday, David Goffin and Grigor Dimitrov now have the opportunity to book their place in the semi finals with a victory on Wednesday afternoon. The opportunity has come about due to Rafael Nadal cutting his tournament and the season short due to his knee failing to recover sufficiently.
Despite playing a clearly suffering opponent, Goffin only scraped over the line in 3 sets against Nadal. He wasted several chances before winning a first set tie break then raced into a 5-3 lead in the second. He double faulted on break point when serving for it and later failed to convert 0-40 for the match.
He had to close it out in 3 but still was nervy though a 4-1 lead turned out to just be enough for the Belgian to hold on in the end. “It was tough even if he was not moving 100%. He was hitting the ball really hard. It was not easy. It’s never easy to finish a match, to finish a set against him. Even if I lost four match points in the second, I had no regret. I kept going in the third.” he commented.
Dimitrov made hard work of a match he was comfortable for long parts in too, going deep into the third set to finally beat Dominic Thiem. After failing to convert a break point for 6-5 in the second set, he was broken when facing his first break points of the match. The same occurred in the final set when he failed to serve out the match at the first time of asking. However, he swiftly broke back to love and closed the match out on his third match point to move to 1-0 in the group.
Goffin did play some good tennis at times in his win over Nadal but it is hard to place his level given his struggles despite his opponent’s clear issues. However, Dimitrov is not underestimating an opponent he has dealt with handily on previous occasions. “David has been having a tremendous end of the season, built up a lot of confidence, a lot of momentum. So I think it’s going to be an interesting match.” the Bulgarian said. He is 3-1 on the main tour against Goffin but actually lost their lone indoor meeting in Rotterdam this year. The winner will secure their qualification due to the tiebreaker criteria that means alternate Pablo Carreno Busta could not oust 2 two match winners.