In-Form Goffin Captures Tokyo Crown
Belgian star puts himself in contention for Nitto ATP Finals berth
David Goffin captured the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2017 crown on Sunday, adding to the ATP World Tour title he won last week at the Shenzhen Open (d. Dolgopolov). It was his first trophy at an ATP World Tour 500-level tournament.
Watch by Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako, the fourth-seeded Belgian defeated Adrian Mannarino of France 6-3, 7-5 in 84 minutes at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo for his fourth ATP World Tour title (4-6 overall in finals). Last year, Goffin had finished as runner-up to Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the title match.
“It’s a really special trophy for me, as I won the tournament last week and now have again today,” said Goffin. “It’s a special feeling at a tournament I like. I have a lot of happy memories in Tokyo. It’s difficult to describe my feelings.
“It’s important for me to stay fresh physically and mentally with potentially the [Nitto] ATP Finals ahead and then playing for Belgium in the Davis Cup final. I am ready fight and I want to keep winning.”
Having started the week at No. 13 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, Goffin added a further 200 points on Sunday to move up one spot to No. 8 ahead of Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the battle to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 12-19 November.
The 26-year-old Goffin, who extended his winning streak to nine matches, will now travel to China for the Shanghai Rolex Masters, which began today, with $336,900 in prize money and 500 Emirates ATP Rankings points.
Mannarino recovered from 15/40 in his first service game, but two games later Goffin broke to lead 3-1 with a forehand winner down the line. Goffin lost just four of his 25 service points in the 40-minute opener.
A lapse in concentration put Goffin under pressure on serve at 2-3, when Mannarino struck aggressively to force an error at 15/40 — with Goffin hitting a backhand wide. Down 2-4, Goffin regrouped to break back immediately and saved a break point at 4-4. The consistent Belgian raised his game in the ninth game, then calmly closed out his 49th match win of 2017 (49-18) with a hold to love.
Goffin is now 3-0 lifetime against Mannarino in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
“It wasn’t easy," said Goffin. “The final is always tough to manage the emotions before and during the match. I just needed one break to win the first set, then in the second set he became more aggressive. Adrian was very solid in the rallies, hitting the ball flat. At the end I started to be a little more aggressive on the return of serve and I was pleased to comeback and break him at 5-5.”
The 29-year-old Mannarino, who is now 0-4 in ATP World Tour finals, recorded the biggest victory of his career in the Tokyo semi-finals on Saturday by beating top-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic. The Frenchman, now 28-23 on the season, which also includes a runner-up finish at the Antalya Open (l. to Sugita), leaves Tokyo with $165,170 in prize money and 300 points.
“David played really well,” said Mannarino. “He broke me once in the first set, but he played three or four winners in a row, so it’s wasn’t easy. I got the break in the second set, but couldn’t hold my serve. The quality of the game was really good, but I wasn’t good enough compared to him. I’ve had a pretty good season, definitely my best so far.”