David Goffin and Dominic Thiem resumed their rivalry in the last match of the Round-Robin stage from the World Tour Finals.
Both players came in the match with one win and one loss in the group stage. The winner will have as prize a Semi-Final meeting with none other than Roger Federer, the conqueror of the Boris Becker group.
Goffin managed to upset, after a lot of hard work, an injured Nadal. But then was demolished by the group’s leader, Grigor Dimitrov, in which he looked injured, as he was arriving late to points.
Thiem narrowly lost with Dimitrov and then barely defeated the alternate of the group, Pablo Carreno Busta.
The pair was meeting for the 10th time. The Belgian had a 6-3 winning record. But as he was destroyed in the clash with Grigor, people suspected that he is injured or tired. So Dominic was considered as the favorite, as he was starting to move better on this surface.
But again it was proven that the Austrian is still not an all-around player and that his game is still not good enough for this surface. Being a clay court specialist, he found himself clueless on how to respond on this hard court.
Dominic Thiem started the match confidently, breaking the Belgian from the first try and went 3-0 in the first set. But after that it all crashed. Goffin started varying his shots better and to put more spin on his serve. From 3-0 for Thiem, it got to the point for Goffin to claim the set, the Austrian winning only one more game until the end, 6-4.
Goffin was more aggressive, taking the initiative. He took risks and came confidently to the net or controlling the points from the baseline, sending inside out forehands or backhands on the long of the line.
Even though the Belgian lacks power, he used his superior speed and placement. Thiem’s serve became predictable and David could capitalize on it, as he was returning decisive.
In the second set, Goffin was returning brilliantly and arriving fast to the points, taking time from Dominic to prepare anything, so he was constantly unbalanced.
Thiem looked mentally defeated, as he became incredibly frustrated. He was making a lot of unforced errors and returning short, giving space and options to the 26 years old. His game was all over the place and he had to admit that he has a lot to work for on hard courts, as David Goffin had a dominant performance to claim the victory, 6-4, 6-1.
The World number 8 will next meet the Swiss Maestro, Roger Federer. In six previous meetings he never found a way to trouble his opponent, as he trails a 0-6 record. But Roger showed signs of discomfort in this tournament and I don’t believe it will be a walk in the park, as many fans and pundits claim.