Federer and Goffin played most recently in the fourth round of the US Open, and Federer surrendered just four games in a ruthless demolition of the Belgian (then added insult to injury by saying afterwards, ‘David wasn’t nearly as good as I expected him to be.’)
They meet once again in the last 16, but this time in Shanghai, where Federer is trying to reach the quarterfinals for the eighth time.
In seven previous appearances in Shanghai, Federer has only once failed to reach the quarterfinals (indeed semifinals) or better: In 2013, when he lost to Gael Monfils in the round of 16.
Defeated by Borna Coric in the semifinals last year, two-time Shanghai champion Federer is playing in just his second event since losing in the quarterfinals of the US Open to Grigor Dimitrov, after having performed his usual function at the Laver Cup exhibition where he won singles ‘matches’ against Nick Kyrgios and John Isner. There was little sign of rust from Federer as he breezed past Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 7-6(5) on Tuesday, serving eight aces and losing only eight points total on serve in the match.
The quick courts in Shanghai obviously suit Federer, who did not face a break point against the Spanish veteran on his way to an 86-minute victory and if his social media presence is anything to go by, he is in relaxed form this week – can David Goffin ruffle his feathers at all as the Swiss bids to make a fifth Masters 1000 Series quarterfinal of 2019?
Goffin is trying to make the quarterfinals in Shanghai for the second time, having done so in 2016 when he beat Juan Martin del Potro and Gael Monfils before losing to Andy Murray. The Belgian missed the tournament altogether in 2018 after shutting down his season early, playing just one match after the US Open, but despite some lackluster results and injury concerns earlier in the year, Goffin comes into this year’s tournament with some great form to draw on.
It took Goffin almost five months to make his first semifinal of the year in Estoril, but things have really been coming together for him lately, starting at the Noventi Open in Halle where he made the final, beating Alexander Zverev among others before finishing runner-up to Federer himself. Goffin went on to reach the quarterfinals of Wimbledon – he was the last player to beat Daniil Medvedev before a final – and a first Masters 1000 Series final in Cincinnati, a significant milestone for any player, even if he didn’t have to beat a player ranked inside the top 20 to do so.
Beating players he’s supposed to beat hasn’t really been a big issue for Goffin since 2014, but getting wins over the top 10 is a different matter – he’s 15-51 against the top 10 for his career, and 7-13 against the top five. With the exception of an early defeat in Metz to Pablo Carreno Busta, at Goffin’s last few tournaments it’s taken a top player to stop him: Medvedev in the Cincinnati Masters final, Federer in the fourth round of the US Open, and Novak Djokovic in last week’s Tokyo semifinals.
Goffin had to save match points in the first round at the Rakuten Japan Open against Carreno Busta, but once he had, he played great tennis in wins over Denis Shapovalov and Hyeon Chung and even against Djokovic in the semifinals; unlike his poor effort against Federer at the US Open, Goffin never went away but was simply outplayed by Djokovic in a 3-6, 4-6 defeat.
Goffin hasn’t had to expend too much energy in Shanghai so far with wins over Richard Gasquet and Mikhail Kukushkin, who retired trailing by a set and a break in Wednesday’s second-round encounter – can he put up a better fight against Federer than he did at the US Open?
Federer has a superb 9-1 record against Goffin, with Goffin’s solitary win coming at the ATP Finals in 2017 when he came back from a set down to record a surprising victory. Since then, Federer hasn’t dropped a set in three matches against the Belgian (although Goffin did retire in one of those matches) and his last four sets played against Goffin have been won 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, 6-0. Federer has such superior offensive weapons that it’s difficult not to see him prevailing on Thursday, although he can be erratic these days and Goffin is in very good form, so it might well be in three sets.
Federer vs Goffin Shanghai Masters tennis is live from Shanghai on Thursday at 2pm local/7am BST
Federer vs Goffin tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Federer looks set to improve to 10-1 vs Goffin in Shanghai
Roger Federer looks to improve to 10-1 vs David Goffin as they face off in the third round of the…
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