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Ricky’s Preview And Prediction For The ATP Finals Afternoon Semi: Federer vs. Goffin

David Goffin of Belgium in action against Dominic Thiem of Austria during their round robin match of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London, Britain, 17 November 2017. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER



By Ricky Dimon


The year-end championship was Roger Federer’s personal playground during a nine-year stretch from 2003 to 2011, in which he lifted the winner’s trophy on six occasions. Now the London stomping grounds once again appear to be his as this season’s tournament heads into semifinal Saturday.


Federer is 16-0 in his career against the other three semifinalist at the Nitto ATP Word Tour Finals, including 6-0 against upcoming opponent David Goffin. The world No. 8 has tried and failed against his idol four times on hard courts–and frequently without being competitive–since they first met a memorable matchup at Roland Garros in 2012. Goffin somehow snagged the opening set of that contest, but he is a hopeless 1-14 in his last 15 sets against the Swiss They most recently squared off a couple weeks ago in Basel, where the Federer dominated 6-1, 6-2 on his eventual way to the title.


No one has been able to defeat Federer this fall, a stretch that has seen him recover from a back injury that hampered him at the U.S. Open–in which he suffered a quarterfinal setback against Juan Martin Del Potro. The 36-year-old is 13-0 in his last three events with titles at the Shanghai Masters and in Basel plus wins at the O2 Arena over Jack Sock, Alexander Zverev, and Marin Cilic. All three round-robin opponents made things competitive, but Federer improved to 55-12 lifetime at the year-end championship and his aspirations for a seventh title are alive and well.


Even though Goffin has not been 100 percent physically since sustaining an ankle injury at the French Open, he has managed to turn in an impressive past three months. The Belgian advanced to round four of the U.S. Open and is 19-6 since leaving New York with back-to-back titles in Shenzhen and Tokyo. Goffin kicked off his London campaign with a 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-4 win over Rafael Nadal, got erased by Grigor Dimitrov 6-0, 6-2, and then defeated Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1 in what was basically a quarterfinal tilt on Friday afternoon.


“I’ve never found a key to beat Roger,” Goffin admitted, channeling his inner captain obvious. “Honestly, I don’t know what to do tomorrow.


“But I’m going to try something; something different; something that I’ve never done in the past. I will try to do my best to play a better match than in Basel, for sure. In Basel, it was not easy. He played well. He didn’t miss. He was really aggressive, as always. He returned so well…. I hope that tomorrow he’s not going to play the same match.”


Keep on hoping.


Federer is in fine form right now and will likely showcase the same level he displayed in Basel. As Goffin also pointed out in his press conference, this is Federer’s best surface along with grass. Federer has done no wrong this fall and has never done any wrong against Goffin. More of the same will likely continue.


Pick: Federer in 2

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


Editors note: Roger in straight sets. Like 2 and 2. These guys are all tired and weary… its been a long year. David’s still got Davis Cup to play for Belgium against France starting basically next Tuesday. The rest of his Team is already training together in Lille, France.

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