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Tennis News • Goffin, Zverev Continue To Make Moves As Race to Nitto ATP Finals • London Heats Up

By Ricky Dimon

David Goffin and Alexander Zverev will both pass Gael Monfils in the race to the Nitto ATP Finals next Monday after reaching respective quarterfinals in Tokyo and Beijing on Thursday.

Goffin improved to 10-1 lifetime at the Rakuten Japan Open by beating Denis Shapovalov 7-6(5), 7-6(2) in one hour and 57 minutes. The 15th-ranked Belgian won this tournament in 2017 after finishing runner-up to Nick Kyrgios in 2016.

“It was tough,” Goffin said of the match against Shapovalov. “He was serving really well and I knew it’d be long sets with some tiebreaks. I tried to break him during the whole match; I didn’t, but I served really well. We were both really solid on our service games and during the tiebreaks I played very well. I’m really happy about my performance because it was a good fight.

“Today I think I was a little bit better (than in round one against Pablo Carreno Busta). But he was serving so well, lefty, serving everywhere, great second serve as well, so it was tough to break him today. I had to fight.”

At the China Open, Zverev had no trouble dismissing Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-1. The sixth-ranked German struck five aces while double-faulting just twice, won 25 of 27 first-serve points, and did not face a single break point while prevailing in one hour and two minutes.

Zverev was the winner of the 2018 year-end championships, but he is currently outside the cut line for making a return trip to London. Eleventh at the moment, Beijing’s No. 2 seed is projected to reach at least No. 10 depending on how the rest of this week shakes out. He could climb to No. 8 with a win over Sam Querrey on Friday and as high as seventh with a title.

Goffin is in basically the same situation. He could reach No. 8 by defeating Hyeon Chung on Friday and No. 7 is within reach with another title in Tokyo.

Other London hopefuls are also in action this week. Dominic Thiem, who faces Andy Murray on Friday in Beijing, would mathematically clinch a spot with a title. Stefanos Tsitsipas is also close to clinching as he prepares for a Beijing quarterfinal contest against John Isner. Fabio Fognini is through to the Beijing quarters, as well, while Diego Schwartzman’s bid for a debut appearance at the O2 Arena took a hit with a loss to Sam Querrey on Thursday.

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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