David Goffin defeated Dominic Thiem on Friday afternoon at the Nitto ATP Finals 6-4, 6-1 and advanced to the semi-finals, where he is due to face Roger Federer.

It’s been another great season for Dominic Thiem, mostly on clay courts though. Once again it’s been showing that his clay-court game is not easy to transmit onto hard courts, especially indoor ones like at the O2 arena. However, he has fared relatively well at this tournament thus far, taking Grigor Dimitrov to a deciding set and then outlasting Pablo Carreno Busta in a tight contest.

David Goffin’s qualification for the ATP Finals is even more impressive when you consider the fact that the Belgian had to skip Wimbledon and retire early at the French Open due to an ankle injury. However, the world no.8 managed to recover in a great fashion and clinched two titles during the Asian swing, in Tokyo and Shenzhen. Prior to this fortnight, the Belgian defeated Rafael Nadal in his first match, but then was totally crushed by Grigor Dimitrov, winning just two games during the whole contest.

 

Goffin – Thiem is one of the most exciting match-ups of the last few years, this was their eleventh meeting since February 2014. The Belgian led the series 7-3, including 2-0 this year. Their only previous indoor hard court encounter finished with a first set retirement from David Goffin.

Surprisingly, it was Thiem who started the match a lot better. He held his serve to 30 and then played a perfect game to break Goffin’s serve to love. The Austrian also had little trouble consolidating and after around 10 minutes he was up three games to none. In men’s tennis, sometimes a break of serve basically means the end of the set. Not in this match though, as Thiem then played a horrible game on his serve, basically handing the re-break to allow Goffin to level. The play didn’t stabilize as the Austrian played another terrible game to get broken again, hitting a double fault to give his opponent three break points and then sending a forehand wide. The Belgian got the chance to serve out the set and although it wasn’t easy, he managed to¬†finish it 6-4.

Thiem received a medical timeout due to a cut on his left knee and after a few minutes, he was ready to play the second set. It wasn’t long till his game broke down again and he got broken again at 1-1. His big strokes are extremely error prone and that was one the matches where they just¬†weren’t finding the court.

Goffin had to save a break point while trying to consolidate but he constructed a wonderful point to save it. The next game featured another series of horrible errors from the Austrian and the Belgian broke again. Down 1-4, Thiem had another four opportunities, but once again couldn’t convert. He was under huge pressure as he had to win a game on his serve in order to stay in the match but didn’t rise up to the occasion as he got broken again to lose to Goffin 6-4, 6-1.

A really terrible performance from Thiem, he was really good in those first three games but then something inexplicable happened to him. The rest of the match Goffin was the one in charge, while the Austrian was simply abysmal. The Belgian will now face world no.2 Roger Federer, who went undefeated in this group. The pair just recently faced each other in Basel semifinals, where the Swiss won 6-1, 6-2. Nothing indicates that it will be different this time around, as Goffin won’t probably have enough power to blow Federer off the court. He also has to keep in mind that he is scheduled to play the Davis Cup final next weekend and if he’s not fit, Belgium has little to none chance.