David Goffin Believes 'Strength' Is Key To Taking On Nadal At French Open - UBITENNIS
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David Goffin Believes ‘Strength’ Is Key To Taking On Nadal At French Open

The 27th seed speaks about the tactics he plans to use during his upcoming clash with the Spanish king of clay.

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David Goffin (photo by Gianni Ciaccia)

On Friday David Goffin will attempt to do something that has only been achieved by two players in the history of the French Open.

 

The Belgian will take on 11-time champion Rafael Nadal in the third round. Goffin set up the clash after defeating Miomir Kecmanović 6-2, 6-4, 6-3, earlier today. The performance saw him break the Serbian seven times throughout the match as he hit eight aces as well as 37 winners. It is the fifth consecutive year Goffin reached the last 32 at Roland Garros.

“It was a great game, a great beginning to the match.” He said afterwards. “I started off with the right intention. I was able to dictate the match immediately.”
“I was up from the outset of the match, and then he got into the game, but I was able to handle the match even when he was performing well, including in the third set. When he started playing well, I was able to step up my game, and I ended up with a second break.’
“I think it was a well-handled match, very robust and with a lot of consistency.”

Goffin’s win follows his emphatic victory over Ricardas Berankis in the first round where he dropped just four games. However, he will next face somebody who he describes as the ‘ultimate test’ on the clay.

Second seed Nadal will be the next test for the world No.29. In the history of the tournament, the Spaniard has only been defeated by Novak Djokovic back in 2015 and Robin Soderling in 2009. Overall, he has a win-loss record of 88-2 since making his debut back in 2005.

“Playing on clay, this is the only tournament the best-of-five sets on clay, and therefore it is probably the ultimate challenge.” Goffin said about facing Nadal.

So far in the career of the 28-year-old, he has taken on the former world No.1 four times. His sole triumph occurred back in 2017 at the ATP Finals, where he defeated both Nadal and Roger Federer. Their other three meetings have been on the clay with Goffin yet to take a set off his rival when playing on that surface.

So what does Goffin have to do to pull off one of the biggest shocks in the men’s draw? According to him, he believes the key will be the strength of his shot-making and trying to match that of his rival.

“I need to use my strength, of course. I need to use angles. I need to play early. If he plays short shots, I will have to do it. But if I have to run a lot, it will be in his favour. And when he starts dictating the match, it becomes very difficult.” Goffin explained about his tactics.
“So I need to make use of his strength as an advantage to dictate the match myself. I need to have good serves as well. It is important. I need to be aggressive, but his defence is so good. He knows how to move around the court. It will be a big court, so it’s extremely difficult to challenge him on clay.”

As for Nadal, he is not underestimating the threat he faces next. Although Goffin has only defeated one top 20 player so far this year out of five attempts. His sole success was against Marco Cecchinato at the Miami Masters in March.

“He’s an opponent that you need to play very well to have success against him. He is quick. He has very good angles. It’s going to be, being honest, a big challenge to be in the third round.” Said Nadal.

Goffin enters his upcoming match with a 14-46 winning record against top 10 opposition. A massive contrast to Nadal, who is 164-88.

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Felix Auger Aliassime Goes The Distance To Win First Match In Rome

The Canadian was pushed to three sets in his opening match by Filip Krajinovic.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the second round of the BNL D’ Italia Masters in Rome after beating his Serbian opponent Filip Krajinovic in three gruelling sets 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.

 

The marathon encounter saw the Canadian hit 45 winners and 12 aces en route to victory. Avenging his loss to Krajinovic at the same tournament last year. His win-loss for the season now stands at 13-8.

” It’s always a tough match against him and I was happy I was able to win today,” the world No.20 said afterwards.

It was Krajinovic who got off to a fast start earning a breakpoint on the Montreal natives opening service game of the match and broke to take an early 1-0 lead. The Canadian responded at 2-1 earning his first two breakpoints of the match and breaking with a solid forehand winner to get the break back and go back on serve. At 3-2 the world number 20 had a chance to take the lead but it was saved by the world number 36. Nevertheless, he would go on to break for a 5-3 lead before serving out the match.

Auger-Aliassime started the second set with confidence and broke the Serb’s opening service game. It stayed on serve until the world number 20 was serving for the win when he ended up getting broken to level the set at five. The very next game the Montreal native had three looks at a breakpoint but again was denied and the second set would be decided by a tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker stayed on serve until 4-4 when Auger Aliassime managed to get the crucial break but squandered it the following point and gave his Serbian opponent a chance to serve it out which he did following a double fault.

The third and decisive set was a roller-coaster with the Canadian holding his opening service game and than having three more breakpoints which he would convert to take another early 2-0 lead. Krajinovic would respond once again earning a breakpoint the following game and getting the break back to go back on serve until 3-3 when the Serb had his first chance to take a lead in the third set but the Canadian would come up with a huge point to save it.

The next game Auger-Aliassime would have a look at another breakpoint and this time would convert to take a 5-3 and serve for the match but struggled to close it out and the world number 36 broke serve once again.

With the Serb serving to stay in the match the Canadian increased his game to another level and managed to earn two match points. Sealing his first match win in Rome with a huge forehand winner down the line.

After the match in his post match press conference Auger Aliassime spoke about how he was able to overcome the adversity of having two chances to serve it out.

” You have to believe and be resilient at times, I wanted to win badly so I dug deep and I found a way so I am happy that I was able to find a way with all the circumstances,” he said.

Auger Aliassime will next face the number eight seed at the tournament Diego Schwartzman. The Argentine currently has a 1-0 lead in their head-to-head with their last meeting coming last October in Cologne, Germany on a indoor hard court.

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Alexander Zverev and Tim Puetz reach the semifinals in the doubles tournament in Madrid

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Alexander Zverev followed up his win against Rafael Nadal in the singles quarter final with a 6-4 3-6 10-5 win alongside his teammate Tim Puetz against Denis Shapovalov and Rohan Bopanna. 

 

On Saturday Zverev and Puetz will take on Marcell Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, who beat Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (7-3) 6-2. 

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic battled past Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 10-7. Mektic and Pavic are bidding for their sixth title in 2021 and their Masters 1000 trophy after winning in Miami and Monte-Carlo. The Croatian team set up a semifinal clash against this year’s Munich BMW Open finalists and Singapore Open champions Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, who edged past Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 6-3 3-6 10-5.

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Five Takeaways From Men’s And Women’s Rome Draws

Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu all return to Rome next week.

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Novak Djokovic (@usopen - Twitter)

Here are five things to take away from Men’s and Women’s singles draw from Rome.

 

Next week is the start of the next stop on the road to Roland Garros as the ATP and WTA tour heads to Rome next week.

The Italian capital will host a star-studded line-up as Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep look to defend their titles.

With another week of stacked ATP and WTA draws here, let us take a look at the five key points to take from this week’s draws:

  • Nadal Set For Zverev Rematch

Rafael Nadal could have a rematch with Alexander Zverev again in Rome next week as has already faced a mixed start to the clay court season. A quarter-final defeat to Andrey Rublev in Monaco was followed by a Barcelona title before losing to Zverev in the Madrid quarter-finals this week. It looks set to be another week where Nadal could face the tall German, whom he has lost on three consecutive occasions to. Before Nadal can get to Zverev, Nadal may have to overcome Jannik Sinner and Casper Ruud, two rising stars who are capable on this surface.

  • Serena Handed Good Draw On Tennis Return

Next week will see Serena Williams return to a tennis court for the first time since her Australian Open semi-final defeat to Naomi Osaka. Having had her physical struggles since the end of last season, Serena now competes in a limited schedule but will be keen to boost her Roland Garros chances next week in Rome. The 23-time grand slam champion could face Roland Garros semi-finalist Nadia Podoroska in her first match before Belinda Bencic stands in her way of a rematch with Osaka in the last eight.

  • Djokovic Looks To Avenge Recent Clay Losses

After winning the Australian Open in January, Novak Djokovic would have wanted a better clay-court season than he has had after being knocked out by Dan Evans in the third round in Monaco and an epic semi-final loss to Aslan Karatsev in Belgrade. After taking Madrid off, Djokovic looks to build momentum and may have to face Dan Evans again this week in his first match. The likes of Grigor Dimitrov and Stefanos Tsitsipas await Djokovic en route to the last four where Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev will wait for the Serb.

  • The Barty Party Looks To Roll On

Ash Barty is silencing the critics week by week and proving why she deserves her world number one ranking after winning Miami, Stuttgart and reaching the final in Madrid. In two of those three tournaments mentioned Barty would have played Aryna Sabalenka in the final. Although that won’t be happening in the final, she could face the Belarusian in the quarter-finals in Italy as a fairly comfortable draw has presented itself for the Australian. Barty’s first opponent will be either Martina Trevisan or Yaroslava Shvedova.

  • Bianca Andreescu Returns

After suffering an injury in the Miami final and testing positive for COVID-19 in Madrid, Bianca Andreescu looks to finally settle into a clay-court season as she returns in Rome. The tricky Canadian will start off against Anastasija Sevastova or Jil Teichmann before facing Petra Kvitova. If Andreescu can negotiate the first two rounds then a dream match with Simona Halep could await in the last eight. As for Halep her Rome campaign could start against Angelique Kerber.

Here is the full ATP and WTA draw:

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