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Federer vs Goffin tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – After a scare against Wawrinka, Federer must raise his game to make the Cincinnati final

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 18 Aug 2018
  • Roger Federer faces David Goffin in the semifinals of the Cincinnati Masters on Saturday
  • Federer vs Goffin is live from Cincinnati on Saturday at 7pm local/12am BST
Roger Federer

Pushed to three sets on Friday night by Stan Wawrinka, seven-time Cincinnati Masters champion Roger Federer survived – will he raise his game as he takes on David Goffin in the semifinals?

After playing two matches in one day on Friday to reach the Cincinnati Masters semifinals, will Roger Federer be able to preserve his perfect record in those semifinals as the seven-time champion takes on David Goffin on Saturday?

Thanks to heavy rain in Cincinnati on Thursday, Federer was one of the many players who had to contest two matches in one day on Friday in order to reach the semifinals – a rare situation for the 37-year-old, usually the beneficiary of the most privileged scheduling, to find himself in. In fact, it was the first time Federer had been forced to play two matches in one day since 2004.
Federer’s first match against Leonardo Mayer was a pretty straightforward affair, the Swiss racing through the first set 6-1 before being pushed to a tie-break in the second set, wrapping up victory 6-1, 7-6(6) against the Argentine.

Wawrinka congratulates Federer on his victory
But he had to work considerably harder when he returned later in the day to face Stan Wawrinka, who looks to be finding something of his formidable form. While Federer has complete command of the head-to-head against Wawrinka, leading 21-3 and never losing to him on hard courts, Wawrinka has at least made things more entertaining in recent years when the two have faced off and so it proved again on Friday night. Wawrinka took the first set in a tie-break and was just a couple of points away from victory in the second set tie-break, but he never managed to gain the crucial advantage there and cagier play from Federer saw him level up as Wawrinka went for broke and missed wildly in the final points of the set. 

The match was briefly suspended after Federer had levelled up and when the players returned to court, it was Federer who seemed to be thinking more clearly, eventually breaking in the seventh game of the decider to close out a 6-7(2), 7-6(6), 6-2 victory.

Federer was not particularly satisfied with the quality of his tennis, saying afterwards that he felt like he was overhitting for much of the first two sets, but there was nothing to complain about in the way that he hung in and competed in order to get the win. 

‘I just tried to remember [for] the core of the match, focus on your serve and try to do what I talked [about] with the coach beforehand on the return games, but it was just never really connecting at the right times my way,’ Federer said.

‘So I just had to hang tough, not get frustrated, and hope that I was not going to throw in a horrible service game or that he was going to connect perfectly. It was a close match today, so I'm just relieved that I got through it somehow.’

It’s worth noting that while Federer only converted two of the nine break points he worked his way to, he didn’t face a single break point on his own serve – that’s two hours and 19 minutes without throwing in a poor service game, although Wawrinka’s decision to position himself very deep on the return, which didn’t pay off particularly, might have had something to do with it. 

‘Stan has the power, and I'm so glad he's back on the Tour, playing well and moving well. So I really enjoyed the match for what it was. It's difficult to always play against him, but I'm happy I was able to find a way in the tie-break in the second, because it was a frustrating night, for me, for the most period, and in the third I was able to find a way,’ Federer said.

‘I think it was partially because he maybe dropped his level, for sure, but maybe me, I also played a bit better then.’

Having not played since losing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals to Kevin Anderson, withdrawing from the Canada Masters, Federer should also have plenty of energy in reserve and shouldn’t be too adversely affected by playing two matches in one day. 

His semifinal opponent David Goffin also had to play twice in one day, of course, but is ten years Federer’s junior, which helps. The Belgian defeated Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-4 on Friday before returning later to oust Juan Martin del Potro 7-6(5), 7-6(4). 

David Goffin in action against Juan Martin del Potro
This is Goffin’s first Masters 1000 Series semifinal since the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in April 2017, which came before the freak knee injury he suffered at the French Open that year and the even more freaky eye injury in Rotterdam in February of this year when a ball ricocheted off his racquet and struck him in the face. It’s been an unlucky stretch for Goffin, no doubt, who had an inspired spell at the end of 2017 when he won Shenzhen and Tokyo and made the final of the Nitto ATP Finals (beating Federer and Nadal on the way) but whose momentum was interrupted by that Rotterdam injury and who only now seems to be getting it back.

Goffin was excellent against del Potro, who came in at a career-high world no. 3 ranking but with injury concerns surrounding his left wrist (which required taping during the match), displaying his signature blend of speed around the court, counterpunching ability and shotmaking capacities. With the exception of a squandered break in the second set, Goffin’s performance was very nearly flawless and, coupled with his wins over Toronto runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas, Benoit Paire and Anderson, strongly suggests a welcome return to form for the Belgian.

‘I'm just fighting since the first match. I'm moving well. I'm feeling fresh mentally. And match after match it was better and better,’ Goffin said. 

‘The first win against Tsitsipas my first round gave me some confidence, and then I knew that was the match that I needed to feel more comfortable on the court. And it was better and better against Benoit Paire and Kevin Anderson.’

Goffin’s next challenge is to do something that no one has ever done – beat Federer in a Cincinnati Masters semifinal. On each of the previous seven occasions that Federer has made it to the final four, he’s won the title.

‘He plays so well here in Cincinnati. He loves the centre court. It's fast courts, fast conditions, so he likes it. And it's not going to be easy,’ Goffin said. 

‘It's always special to play against Roger. You have to be focused on what you have to do and not on his side, because you know that all the crowd will be behind him and you have to play your best tennis and be focused on your game. So it will be tough, like always.’

Federer owns a 6-1 head-to-head against Goffin, but did lose their last encounter, with the Belgian coming back from 2-6 down to win in three sets at the Nitto ATP Finals. That was the end of a long year for Federer, though (for Goffin as well, of course), and assuming that two matches in one day hasn’t taken too much out of him – which it shouldn’t, considering he’s just had a month off – there seems to be little reason that he shouldn’t play much more confidently than he did against Wawrinka and secure a seventh victory over Goffin, who simply doesn’t have the weapons to match his. 

Federer vs Goffin semifinal tennis is live from Cincinnati on Saturday at 7pm local/12am BST

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Federer vs Goffin tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – After a scare against Wawrinka, Federer must raise his game to make the Cincinnati final

Roger Federer vs David Goffin live streaming, preview and predictions for the Cincinnati Masters semifinal match on Saturday 18 August 2018: Federer lost his last match to Goffin but owns a perfect record in Cincinnati semifinals

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