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Goffin vs Nishioka tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Can Goffin end qualifier’s unlikely Cincinnati Masters run?

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 15 Aug 2019
  • David Goffin faces Yoshihito Nishioka in the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati Masters
  • Goffin vs Nishioka is live from Cincinnati on Friday
David Goffin (PA Sports)

Qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka has been on an incredible run at the Cincinnati Masters – can David Goffin, one of the last two seeds remaining in the bottom half of the draw, bring it to an end?

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David Goffin is one victory away from making back-to-back Cincinnati Masters semifinals as he takes on Yoshihito Nishioka in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Goffin will have to avenge a defeat at the Citi Open just a few weeks ago to Nishioka if he is to make the final four at the Western & Southern Open.

Goffin was forced to retire in last year's Cincinnati semifinals (PA Sports)
The Belgian is trying to reach the fifth Masters 1000 Series semifinal of his career, having made the final four at Indian Wells and Miami in 2016, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in 2017 and Cincinnati last year, when he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas, Kevin Anderson and Juan Martin del Potro before having to retire as he faced Roger Federer, trailing by a set and a break.

Ranked as high as world no. 7 in November 2017 after he made the Nitto ATP Finals final, finishing runner-up to Grigor Dimitrov, Goffin’s ranking slid in 2018, mainly as the result of two injuries: A freak ricochet of a tennis ball off his own racquet into his eye in February, and an elbow injury which meant that he only played one match for the rest of the year after losing in the fourth round of the US Open. 

It’s taken Goffin time to rebound, and the first half of his season was quite forgettable, with the only highlights semifinal appearances at 250 tournaments in Estoril and Marseille. Goffin slid out of the top 30 after losing in the third round of the French Open, but things started to look up for him almost immediately afterwards with a run to the final of the Gerry Weber Open, beating Alexander Zverev and ending the winning run of Matteo Berrettini on the way. He went on to make the third Grand Slam quarterfinal of his career at Wimbledon.

Goffin was 0-2 on in August coming into Cincinnati, with defeats to Nishioka in Washington, D.C. and Guido Pella in Montreal. But the bottom half of the draw has opened up incredibly in Cincinnati, and the Belgian has taken full advantage. It’s not too often that one has the opportunity to reach the semifinals of a Masters 1000 Series without facing a single seeded player, but that’s the chance Goffin has this week after having beaten Taylor Fritz, Pella and Adrian Mannarino to set up a quarterfinal clash with qualifier Nishioka. Moreover, should Goffin beat Nishioka to make the semifinals, the only seeded player he could face there is Roberto Bautista Agut.

It’s a huge opportunity, and Goffin looked determined not to let anything get in his way as he took on Mannarino on Thursday, delivering a sharp performance to defeat the French player 7-6(6), 6-2. Mannarino came back from a break down in the first set and led by a mini-break in the tie-break, but Goffin edged the hotly-contested first set, hitting a winner to seal a marathon rally on set point, and dominated the second to book his place in the quarterfinals.

‘It was a great match and I got better as it went on,’ quotes Goffin as saying

‘I am feeling sharp. I am feeling great now and I'm looking forward to the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000. I have nothing to lose.’

It’s fair to say that Yoshihito Nishioka will also feel like he has nothing to lose. The 23-year-old Japanese player could not have envisioned that he would be in this situation when he played his first qualifying match a week ago.

Yoshihito Nishioka (PA Sports)
Ranked a career-high world no. 58 in the spring of 2017 after a great season on the Challenger Tour in 2016 and making the fourth round of the Indian Wells Masters as a lucky loser, Nishioka suffered an abrupt reversal in Miami when he tore his ACL during a second-round match with Jack Sock. He was not able to return to tennis until the following January and his ranking slipped to well outside the top 300, but by May last year he had won a Challenger as a qualifier and was already turning things around, going on to win a highly improbable maiden ATP Tour title in Shenzhen in September: Ranked world no. 171, Nishioka qualified for the main draw and beat Denis Shapovalov and Fernando Verdasco on his way to the title. He ended the season ranked world no. 75.

Nishioka had another brilliant run at Indian Wells in March, beating Roberto Bautista Agut and Felix Auger-Aliassime to make the round of 16, but in a cruel twist of fate he had to retire against Miomir Kecmanovic due to a back injury. He barely won a match on clay (although he did give Juan Martin del Potro all he could handle in the second round of the French Open) or grass, but the return to hard courts has reaped immediate rewards: He made the third round of the Citi Open with the aforementioned win over Goffin, and then came Cincinnati, where he has now won five matches on the trot, including a career-best win over compatriot Kei Nishikori in the second round.

Nishikori was, admittedly, not at his best but it was still a huge win for Nishioka and I was also impressed with the way he backed it up against Alex de Minaur, really sharp off the ground and dominating the counterpunching Australian.

After five matches in Cincinnati, however, fatigue could be an issue for Nishioka, especially against an opponent like Goffin, who is going to make you run so much (treatment also meted out by Nishioka to whoever is down the other end of the court, to be fair). Goffin has beaten Nishioka before, back in Tokyo in 2016 in straight sets, and while Nishioka got the win in Washington a few weeks ago the match was incredibly close, settled 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-6(5). I wouldn’t be surprised to see another three-set battle, but I think the fresher and more experienced Goffin is going to come out on top and book his place in another Cincinnati Masters semifinal.

Goffin vs Nishioka tennis is live from Cincinnati on Friday

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Goffin vs Nishioka tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Can Goffin end qualifier’s unlikely Cincinnati Masters run?

David Goffin vs Yoshihito Nishioka live streaming, preview and predictions for the Western & Southern Open quarterfinal match on Friday 16 August: Back-to-back Cincinnati Masters semifinals beckon for Goffin if he can avenge Washington defeat to Nishioka

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