3 names are already confirmed the semi finals at the weekend in the ATP finals with one of Dominic Thiem and David Goffin looking to join Roger Federer, Jack Sock and Grigor Dimitrov. Sock and Dimitrov will face off while Federer awaits the winner of this decisive match on Friday afternoon.
Goffin has continued to have his knee taped but insists that it had no impact on his disastrous loss to Grigor Dimitrov. He lost the first 9 games against the Bulgarian, eventually falling to an 0 and 2 loss. While facing Federer isn’t ideal for him, it was a loss that didn’t change much when it came to what he needed to do in the final group match. It also ensured he won’t be too tired after a physically and mentally draining opening win against Nadal on Monday.
“He was better today. We started the match really well from both sides. We had a lot of good rallies. It was a great intensity from the start. But he played well. He was a little bit more aggressive. He came to the net from the beginning, from the first point.” said Goffin of his opponent.
Thiem also has a three set win over a Spaniard this week but it was against the alternate Pablo Carreno Busta rather than the scheduled Rafael Nadal. It was still a tough match for him against a far more unfancied opponent. Thiem was down *3-4 in the decider before reeling off three straight to remain in with a chance for the last semi final spot.
“He’s taking the balls very early. He’s giving me not much time. Especially on this little bit faster surface, it’s tough for me.” Thiem said of the matchup. It’s one that has troubled him over the past 3 years with just three wins from nine over his lower ranked Belgian opponent. That includes 2 matches this year, one of which even on Thiem’s favoured surface at Monte Carlo.
Goffin won just 13 of 47 return points against Dimitrov, something that has to be disappointing after the way he dealt with Nadal’s serve in match 1. He admits there is room for improvement but it seems fair to assume that Thiem will not be playing with the confidence and momentum of Dimitrov.
Goffin, just 3 of 25 against the top 5, has had very few big or trademark wins in his career. Taking out Thiem in a winner takes all match may be up there if he can achieve it.
Prediction: David Goffin in three sets