Goffin Advances to Third Final of '17
David Goffin advanced to his third final of the season by defeating Henri Laaksonen 7-6(7), 5-7, 6-3 at the Shenzhen Open on Saturday and could further boost his standing in the Emirates ATP Race To London during Sunday's final.
With a win against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov, Goffin would have 2,285 points in the Emirates ATP Race To London, which determines the Top 8 players who compete at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 12-19 November at The O2 in London.
With fifth-placed Stan Wawrinka and ninth-placed Novak Djokovic having ruled themselves out of the season-ending event, Goffin would be in strong position to qualify for the first time at the prestigious tournament.
He was forced to dig deep against the No. 107 Laaksonen. Goffin clinched the first set in a tie-break, then dropped the second after sailing a forehand wide at 6-5. The second-seeded Belgian immediately broke to open the third and broke again at 5-3 to earn the victory in two hours and 16 minutes.
“I'm feeling a little tired; I've never played him before but he's a tough fighter,” Goffin said. “It was a tough battle, especially in the second set. I'm happy with the way I started the third set but it was a fight until the end.
“I've won three matches already in Shenzhen; I'm going to rest tonight to be ready for tomorrow."
Goffin moves a step closer to his first title of the season. The World No. 12 failed to lift the trophy in his two previous attempts this season. In February, Goffin fell to Grigor Dimitrov at Sofia and to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Rotterdam. Laaksonen, the Swiss No. 3 behind Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, was playing in his third straight three-set match and his first ATP World Tour semi-final.
“He had an unbelievable run so I knew he was going to make me play a lot of balls. I was really lucky to serve well today,” said Dolgopolov, who saved all three break points and won almost 90 per cent (31/35) of his first-serve points.
Dolgopolov, No. 53 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, will be playing in his third final of the season but his first on hard courts. In July, he fell to Spaniard David Ferrer at the SkiStar Swedish Open in Bastad. Dolgopolov beat Kei Nishikori in February at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires.
“I'll try to play more aggressive maybe... David is for sure a solid player. It's nice to see him back on this level,” Dolgopolov said. “I'll just go and fight.”