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Rafa Nadal And David Goffin Completely On Fire Heading Into Shanghai Rolex Tennis Masters

Nadal and Goffin completely on fire heading into Shanghai Rolex Masters


By Ricky Dimon


Rafael Nadal and David Goffin are hotter than Krispy Kreme donuts even when the “Hot Now” sign is on. Combined, they have won 21 matches in a row and four straight tournaments heading into this week’s Shanghai Rolex Masters. Nadal is 12-0 in his last 12 with titles at the U.S. Open and China Open. Goffin is 9-0 and has triumphed in Shenzhen and Tokyo.


Lucas Pouille came close to dousing Nadal’s flames in the Beijing first round, but the top-ranked Spaniard fought off two match points and the rest is history. Nadal ended up going all the way to the title, beating Karen Khachanov, John Isner, Grigor Dimitrov, and Nick Kyrgios in more routine fashion.


The 31-year-old trounced Kyrgios 6-2, 6-1 in Sunday’s final.


“He played well; I played terrible,” Kyrgios said. “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].”


Kyrgios also tried and failed against Goffin earlier this fall, losing to the Belgian in four sets as Australia lost a Davis Cup semifinal tie. Only Benoit Paire has managed to defeat Goffin since the U.S. Open, and that required a third-set tiebreaker that the Frenchman won 9-7 in Metz. The world No. 10 promptly reeled off nine consecutive wins in Shenzhen and Tokyo.


David Goffin of Belgium in action during the the final match against Adrian Mannarino of France at the Japan Open tennis championships in Tokyo, Japan, 08 October 2017. EPA-EFE/KIMIMASA MAYAMA

Goffin’s surge reached a high point with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Adrian Mannarino in Sunday’s championship match.


“It’s a really special trophy for me, as I won the tournament last week and now have again today,” the No. 4 seed commented. “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.”


Goffin will try to keep it going against Gilles Simon on Wednesday. The head-to-head series sits at one win apiece, with Simon scoring a three-set win at the 2015 Queen’s Club event before Goffin did the same one season later in Miami. Simon is struggling down at No. 47 in the world with a 15-22 record in 2017.


Nadal is also kicking off his week on Wednesday, when he faces Jared Donaldson for the first time. Donaldson has played the best tennis of his life from start to finish this season, with 22 of his 33 career ATP-level wins. The 20-year-old American Asian swing has consisted of a quarterfinal showing in Chengdu (lost to eventual champ Denis Istomin in a third-set ‘breaker), a three-set setback against Tomas Berdych in Beijing, and a 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-4 victory over Pablo Cuevas in Shanghai on Monday.


Simon and Donaldson are opponents who have to be respected. But are they good enough to turn off the “Hot Now” sign? Doubtful.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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