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Gasquet vs Goffin ATP Cincinnati Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Gasquet and Goffin battle for spot in Cincinnati final

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 17 Aug 2019
  • Richard Gasquet vs David Goffin is live from Cincinnati on Saturday, 17 August from 1:00pm local time/ 6:00pm BST
  • Gasquet and Goffin have split their two previous meetings
Richard Gasquet. (Photo by: Scott Stuart/ZUMA Wire)

Richard Gasquet and David Goffin meet in the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters on Saturday with Gasquet looking to advance to his fourth Masters 1000 final and Goffin attempting to reach his first. 

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It has been a very impressive return to form for Gasquet, who did not begin his season until May, having undergone groin surgery in January. The former world No. 7 unsurprisingly took his time to get going again following his return to the tour at the Madrid Masters in May, winning back-to-back matches in just one of his first ten tournaments, but the Frenchman has been in some excellent form in the last couple of weeks, reaching the third round in Montreal last week, where he beat Benoit Paire and Kei Nishikori before losing to Roberto Bautista-Agut, and following it up this brilliant semi-final run in Cincinnati.

“I know how tough it was to come back,” said Gasquet. “I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. Of course, it's not easy to come back after six months out, but I'm here. I'm in semis tomorrow.”

The three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist did not drop a set in his first three matches in Cincinnati, beating Andy Murray, Federico Delbonis and Diego Schwartzman to advance to the quarter finals of the Western and Southern Open for just the second time in his career, and he moved into a first semi-final with a 7-6 3-6 6-2 victory over Bautista-Agut, snapping a three-match losing streak against the Spaniard, and gaining revenge for last week's loss to the same player in Montreal. 

A tight opening set featured no break points, but it was Gasquet who held his poise in the tie break, pulling away as Bautista-Agut gave away some uncharacteristic errors. The Spaniard was never going to fall away without a fight, and true to type, he carved out an early break in the second set, and rode on that advantage to even the match at one-set all.

At that point, soon-to-be top-ten star, Bautista-Agut appeared the stronger of the two, and the favourite for the match, but Gasquet found inspiration from somewhere, playing an attractive and aggressive brand of tennis to dominate the final set. 

Gasquet is into his eight Masters 1000 semi-final, and his first since he made the last four in Miami in 2013. He will now attempt to reach his first final since the 2012 Rogers Cup. The Frenchman, who dropped to 68 on the rankings just a few weeks ago, is projected to move into the top 35 next Monday, and should he beat David Goffin and make the final, he will definitely get back into the world's top-30.

“In the second set, I was a little bit tired,” said Gasquet. “Of course, it was tough. He doesn't miss a lot, so it's very difficult to win points. I knew if I wanted to win, I had to put in a lot of energy at the start of the third. I managed to do it. I served better. It was a great third set. I played faster. I tried to start well. I ran well.”

He will have to do plenty of running again on Saturday as he takes on the speedy Goffin for a birth in a first Cincinnati final.

Goffin is looking to reach his maiden Masters 1000 final, having lost out in three previous semi-finals. The Belgian advanced to his latest semi-final at this level following the withdrawal of Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka, who pulled out of Friday's quarter final meeting due to illness.

Goffin had never gone beyond the third round in Cincinnati prior to this week, but he has put together a strong run over the last few days, beating Taylor Fritz, Guido Pella and Adrian Mannarino to reach the last eight, before benefiting from the walkover over Nishioka.

While Goffin seeks his first Masters 1000 final, he has of course been to a bigger final - at the Nitto ATP Finals in 2017, when he defeated both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal en route before losing to Grigor Dimitrov in the championship match. That result took him to No. 7 in the world, but he struggled to reach that level in 2018, with injuries playing a significant role as he slid outside the top-20 by the end of the year.

Goffin had a quiet start to 2019, reaching just two semi-finals (Marseille and Estoril) through the hard and clay-court seasons, but he burst into life on grass- traditionally his least productive surface- reaching the final in Halle and the quarter finals at Wimbledon. His only defeats were against the absolute best, Federer in Halle and Djokovic at the All England Club. 

He did not immediately find that form on his return to hard courts, exiting Washington and Montreal at the first hurdles, but it has been a lot more like it for him this week in Cincinnati, as he has put himself one game away from reaching the final.

“I always have some nice matches and memories here,” Goffin said. “Maybe because I have more matches under the belt at this tournament, and I have the confidence. I’m in another semi-final and I have an opportunity to reach my first Masters 1000 final. But it will be tough against Gasquet. On paper, it’s a big opportunity, but also for him. I’ll try to play my best tennis and be aggressive.”

It will indeed be tough as Gasquet is playing some beautiful tennis at the moment. The head-to-head is split at 1-1, with Goffin winning in Tokyo in 2017, and Gasquet responding with victory in Montpellier last year.

I think both players are very evenly matched- with both possessing two of the best backhands in the business- that exchange between Gasquet's flashy one-hander and Goffin's rock solid double-handed stroke should be a fascinating contest. 

“It will be tough,” said Gasquet, looking to Saturday’s semi-final against Goffin. “He's a great player. He's playing very fast. I need to recover now a little bit to be ready for tomorrow, because, as I said, he doesn't miss. He's playing fast, especially with the backhand. It will be a tough battle for me. It's the semis. I have nothing to lose, so I try my best.”

The one area where Goffin appears to have a clear advantage is in the movement and athleticism, and overall durability, especially if the match extends into a final set. The Belgian also has the luxury of having the day off yesterday while Gasquet battled for three sets against Roberto Bautista-Agut. I don't see Gasquet closing this out in straight sets, and the longer it goes, the more it favours Goffin. 

Richard Gasquet vs David Goffin is live from Cincinnati on Saturday, 17 August from 1:00pm local time/ 6:00pm BST

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Gasquet vs Goffin ATP Cincinnati Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Gasquet and Goffin battle for spot in Cincinnati final

Richard Gasquet and David Goffin meet for the third time on Saturday as they battle for a spot in the final of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Read our preview, predictions and stream the matches live online.

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