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Goffin Fights Off Four Match Points in French Open Tennis • RG2018 Comeback

David Goffin of Belgium plays Gael Monfils of France during their men’s third round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 02 June 2018. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

 

 

By Richard Pagliaro

 

A wall of sound was closing in on David Goffin, while a streaking Gael Monfils was shrinking open court space rapidly.

 

Facing four match points, Goffin seemed to be boxed in on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

 

The cagey Belgian hit his way out of trouble.

 

Serving at 4-5 in the fourth set, Goffin fought off four match points sparking a 6-7 (6), 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 comeback win over the acrobatic Frenchman sending Goffin into the French Open fourth round for the third time.

 

A run-in with a tarp resulted in a right ankle injury forcing Goffin out of Roland Garros last year. He’s shown grit in his return to Paris this week. Goffin hit 54 winners and converted 11 of 19 break-point chances beating Monfils for the third time in four meetings.

 

Goffin, who rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat Robin Haase in round two, continues to show stamina against challenging opponents.

 

The lightest man in the Top 20 raised his Roland Garros record in five-setters to 5-0, improving his career five-set record to 11-4.

 

Goffin will meet Marco Cecchinato, who stunned 10th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta yesterday, for a spot in the quarterfinals.

 

The slender Belgian’s second straight Grand Slam meeting with Monfils was a five-set adventure spread out over two days.

 

When play was suspended on Friday, Goffin was up a break at 3-2 in the third set.

 

Gael Monfils of France plays David Goffin of Belgium during their men’s third round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 02 June 2018. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

Quick off the mark, Monfils reeled off four straight points breaking back and cruised through the third set.

 

Serving at 4-5 in the fourth set, Goffin fought off two match points on Monfils errors.

 

On the third match point, the 31-year-old Frenchman unloaded on a forehand down the line but hit the top of the tape. Goffin denied the fourth match point curling a slider serve out wide.

 

Running down a drop shot, Goffin capped an eventful 25-shot rally and eventually held for 5-all.

 

By then, Monfils was bending over a the waist grabbing at his knees while gulping for air.

 

The 31-year-old Frenchman was hit with a time violation warning for repeatedly stretching out breaks between points.

 

Not of those theatrics mattered much to Goffin, who belted a backhand crosscourt breaking for 6-5.

 

On the ensuing changeover, Monfils walked over near Goffin’s chair to talk the Belgian, presumably to explain his issue with the chair umpire over the time violation warning.

 

In the final set, Goffin was fresher and more assertive than Monfils, who ceded the early break.

 

The backhand down the line is the Belgian’s signature shot. Goffin hit that strike forcefully earning a scattered response as he broke for 5-2 in the decider.

 

Still, there was one more plot twist as Monfils broke back in the eighth game.

 

Pouncing on a short serve, Goffin zapped a backhand return down the line for match point. Goffin closed two minutes shy of four hours and will be a strong favorite against fourth-round debutant Cecchinato in their second meeting in less than a month.

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