David Goffin finally got over the line against Roger Federer with a commanding 2-6 6-3 6-4 victory to make the final at the World Tour Finals on his first-ever appearance. Few gave the diminutive Belgian a chance based on his six straight losses against the Swiss but he came from a set down to take out the second seed and set up a final against Grigor Dimitrov.
An unexpected victory perhaps but the World Number 6 played solid tennis after a nervy start and was able to keep his level high throughout the 1 hour and 45-minute encounter to deserve the win. Roger, on the other hand, struggled as he has all week with his game going from sublime to error-strewn all too readily.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive, a choice that's served him well in recent matches as he broke for 1-0 after Goffin had saved four break points. Roger consolidated for 2-0 and the early lead put the wind in his sails as he played some splendid points to take the set 6-2.
With Goffin's weak record against the Swiss I figured the match would be a foregone conclusion but the Belgian put his early woes behind him as he broke to lead 2-0 at the start of the second. A love hold consolidated the break and suddenly he was in the match. With Roger's forehand misfiring, Goffin progressed to a 5-2 lead after the Swiss missed his sole break point chance of the set. Goffin then served it out to love 6-3.
With Roger serving first in the one set shootout he held to 15 to get on the board. Goffin then held from 0-30 and was able to break with some crisp ball striking to lead 2-1. The Belgian had looked nervous trying to close out the match against Nadal earlier this week and in game four he slipped to 15-40 but Roger just couldn't land the right blows as Goffin held for 3-1. That put him firmly in control and although Roger was able to take care of his own service games Goffin held firm to take it 6-4.
|David Goffin||Roger Federer|
|1st Serve||59% (55/93)||61% (47/77)|
|1st Serve Points Won||73% (40/55)||74% (35/47)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||58% (22/38)||57% (17/30)|
|Break Points Saved||82% (9/11)||33% (1/3)|
|Service Games Played||14||13|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||26% (12/47)||27% (15/55)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||43% (13/30)||42% (16/38)|
|Break Points Converted||67% (2/3)||18% (2/11)|
|Return Games Played||13||14|
|Service Points Won||67% (62/93)||68% (52/77)|
|Return Points Won||32% (25/77)||33% (31/93)|
|68% (13/19)||Net Points Won||85% (17/20)|
|Total Points Won||51% (87/170)||49% (83/170)|
Thoughts on the Match
So tough loss here for the GOAT and not one many of us saw coming. Roger was obviously the firm favourite going in and I thought it was a straight sets win but he just couldn't summon his best tennis for the duration of the match. The Swiss had schooled Goffin in Basel and got off to a great start here taking the opener 6-2 but from there the match turned on its head as Goffin kept his base level a notch above Roger's which made the difference.
As many a pundit has told us live on air ‘the margins are small at this level' and it's certainly true here. If we go all the way back to the French Open in 2012 we saw what Goffin can do from the back of the court if Roger's not quite on the money so 5 years on it's about time he finally went one better than just a set. That's why I don't think it's too big a shock when you consider how the tournament has panned out and the level we've seen from Fed. He's played well in fits and starts but never really managed to hit the heights. His coach Severin Luthi said before the match he was favourite but had to play better if he wanted to win the title and he was spot on.
Anwyay, that brings the 2017 season to a close and I don't think it could have gone much better; 2 Slams, 3 Master's 1000's and 2 ATP 500 titles in the bag. Bit of a crappy end but it's not something to dwell on and at 36 years young what Roger is able to do on a tennis court is a testimony to just how dedicated this guy has been to the game. I doubt we'll see anything like this again so enjoy it while it lasts 🙂