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10sBalls Tennis From London Preview Of Thiem vs. Goffin Match • ATP World Tour Finals

Dominic Thiem of Austria in action against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria during their round robin match of the ATP World Tour Finals in London, Britain, 13 November 2017. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA



Ricky’s preview and pick for Friday at the World Tour Finals: Thiem vs. Goffin


By Ricky Dimon


Dominic Thiem and David Goffin will be battling in a virtual quarterfinal match at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals when the friendly, familiar foes square off again on Friday afternoon.


Goffin leads the head-to-head series 6-3 at the ATP level (7-3 overall), including 4-1 on hard courts. Their only completed indoor meeting (not counting one first-set retirement by Goffin) came four years ago in Basel, where the Belgian prevailed 7-6(4), 6-3. They have squared off twice in 2017, with Goffin getting the job done 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-2 at the Australian Open and 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3 at the Monte-Carlo Masters.


The latter marked a rare clay-court loss to someone other than Rafael Nadal for Thiem, who captured the Rio de Janeiro title, placed runner-up to Nadal in Barcelona and Madrid, and reached the Roland Garros semis before falling to the eventual 10-time champion. A woeful second half of the year saw Thiem turn in only a few decent results, one of which was a fourth-round showing at the U.S. Open–but that ended in a collapse against Juan Martin Del Potro from 6-1, 6-2 up.


Goffin’s recent months have progressed in different fashion. His French Open campaign ended abruptly in the form of an ankle injury, but he has been in fine form since his hard-court return. The world No. 8 advanced to the last 16 in New York, won back-to-back titles in Shenzhen and Tokyo, and made a run to the Basel semis.


Goffin has produced a mixed bag so far at the O2 Arena. He beat a hobbled Nadal 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-4 only to get thrashed by Grigor Dimitrov 6-0, 6-2 on Wednesday. Thiem’s two-year history at the year-end championship has been solid. He went 1-2 last year, with a win over Gael Monfils and a three-set loss to Novak Djokovic among his results, and is 1-1 through two matches this week (lost to Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7, 7-5; beat Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 3-6, 6-4).


“I practice really often with Dominic,” Goffin commented. “I have already an idea with the tactics against him because I played so many times against him. We played a lot of good matches against each other. It’s not going to be easy.”


“I’m very happy and pleased that I get the chance to play for the semifinals on Friday,” Thiem assured. “Not much calculating. The winner [goes] through. We had some big, important matches in the past…in the deep rounds of slams. This one’s going to be another one. We know each other very well. He played a very good match here (against Nadal); one very bad match (against Dimitrov). I don’t know what to expect.”


Not only has Goffin’s form been erratic this week, but he is also a question mark from a physical perspective. Although the seventh seed insists that he is–or is close to–100 percent, he may not have been moving at his absolute best against Dimitrov. If Thiem can play a smart match and choose the correct times to unleash his one-handed backhand, he should advance to the semis.


Pick: Thiem in 3

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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