Goffin Keeps Rolling, Plays Schwartzman In Tokyo SFs
Goffin wins 11 of final 13 games in Gasquet match
Belgian David Goffin continued his rise up the Emirates ATP Race To London and into contention for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals on Friday when he reached the semi-finals of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2017.
Fourth seed Goffin recovered from a 2-5 deficit in the first set and three set points to defeat 2007 finalist Richard Gasquet of France 7-5, 6-2 in one hour and 38 minutes on an overcast and wet Friday in Tokyo. He will now prepare to face eighth-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman on Saturday.
Goffin, who began the week at No. 13 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, is now up to No. 11 and within just 15 points of No. 10-placed American Sam Querrey (2,345 points), who holds the final qualification spot for the season finale that will be held at The O2 in London from 12-19 November. Querrey lost to Gasquet in the Tokyo first round.
Goffin was made to work hard against Gasquet, who led 3-2 when rain stopped play and, with the players remaining on court, the Ariake Colosseum roof began to close. At 5-2, Gasquet failed to convert a 40/0 lead and paid the price in a run of seven straight games for Goffin. The consistent Belgian broke for a fourth time at 3-1 in the second set and is now seven matches unbeaten — 47-18 overall on the season that includes last week’s Shenzhen Open title (d. Dolgopolov).
“It wasn’t easy in the first four games, when I had some opportunities to break Richard,” said Goffin. “At 2-3, they closed the roof and it’s never easy to start again. I needed one or two games to get used to the conditions, then I started to feel the ball really well. I saved the set points and I was then ready for the second set, feeling my rhythm and playing my best tennis towards the end of the first set.”
Schwartzman won the first match of the day to advance to his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the year. He lost just three points in his first seven service games en route to a 6-0, 7-5 victory over American Steve Johnson in one hour and 33 minutes. The diminutive 25 year old, who reached the last four at Istanbul (l. to Cilic) in May, is now 32-23 on the season.
“The match at the beginning went well and I played a good first set,” said Schwartzman. “Then he started to improve and changed his game in the second set, holding a set point. I am happy to have saved it and won on my sixth set point.”
World No. 46 Johnson, who had beaten second seed Dominic Thiem of Austria in the first round and Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov in the second round, received on-court treatment for a neck complaint after the third game. Although he took time to work his way into the match, incredibly he held one set point at 5-4, Advantage, in the second set when Schwartzman was serving. Schwartzman, who created 17 break point opportunities in the pair’s first tour-level meeting, held on and broke in the next game before ultimately closing out after six match point chances.