David Goffin: ‘The Rest Of The Year, I Just Want To Enjoy It’

David Goffin (photo: European Open)

WASHINGTON, October 22, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Something didn’t look quite right about David Goffin‘s performance last month at Roland Garros. The No. 11 seed bowed in the first round to Jannik Sinner 7-5, 6-0, 6-3, in which the young Italian star won 11 straight games from 5-all in the first set to a 3-0 lead in the third set. Soon after, the Belgian tested positive for Covid-19 and had to quarantine. It forced him from playing in last week’s ATP 500 St. Petersburg Open.

Being in quarantine meant that Goffin was not only unable to compete, he was also unable to practice.

“It was not easy, but I am finally here,” said Goffin, who sat for a virtual press conference on Tuesday afternoon with media covering the European Open in Antwerp, the capital city in Antwerp province in the Flemish region of Belgium. “Now, I can prepare for the tournament.”

Now that he’s feeling healthy again, the World No. 14 Goffin is seeded first in the European Open. He plays his first match of the ATP 250 series tournament against 94th-ranked American qualifier Marcos Giron on Thursday in Lotto Arena.

“I’m feeling great and I’m happy to be in Antwerp,” said Goffin, who is one of three Belgians in the 28-player singles main draw, along with Zizou Bergs and Kimmer Coppejans. “I’m happy I can play in the tournament. 

“I treasure the moments I can play in Belgium, again.”

When Tennis TourTalk asked Goffin what goals he has set for himself for the remainder of 2020, the soft-spoken, introspective Belgian No. 1 said he planned to play next week in Vienna and in the Paris Masters the first week in November. Goffin described each as “two big events” that he likes.

“For the rest of the year, I just want to enjoy it,” he said. “To play relaxed – to play my best – and to enjoy it.”

No. 2 seed Carreño Busta upset 

Second seed Pablo Carreño Busta was upset in his opening match Wednesday afternoon. The No. 15 from Spain lost 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to No. 38 Ugo Humbert of France, who adjusted his game and made the most of his opportunities during the two hour and 34-minute battle. The victory was a confidence booster for the Humbert, who advanced to Friday’s quarterfinal round against either No. 7 seed Taylor Fritz or South African qualifier Lloyd Harris.

Humbert finished with eight service aces and saved 10 of the 12 break points he faced, including eight for eight in the final two sets. He broke Carreño Busta three times.

Seeds advance in Antwerp

• No. 4 seed Grigor Dimitrov rallied from a set down to beat No. 55 Pablo Andújar, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, in two hours and 20 minutes to reach his third quarterfinal of the season. He hit nine aces and saved six of the eight break points he faced. Dimitrov’s won 84 percent of his first-serve points and broke Andújar, a four-time ATP Tour titlist, three times.

During his post-match videoconference, Dimitrov, who improved his lifetime indoor win-loss record to 72-40, credited himself for staying in the match “in a very good manner.”

Dimitrov said: “I think a lot of that was experience playing indoors. You don’t get the chance to play a lot of matches indoors and the times that I have, I’ve always felt that I have a little bit of an extra edge, especially in the big moments during the match. I think today was also one of those matches.”

Next, Dimitrov will face either No. 5 seed Milos Raonic of Canada or No. 70 Cameron Norrie from Great Britain in Friday’s quarterfinal round.

• The No. 5 seed Raonic advanced to his second-round match with Norrie with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory over No. 52 Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia. The 19th-ranked Canadian fired 17 aces and was not broken during his one hour and 25-minute match, his first since losing in the semifinals last weekend in St. Petersburg.

• In a battle of hard-hitting Americans, No. 7 Taylor Fritz outlasted No. 33 Reilly Opelka. The 28th-ranked Fritz hit 10 aces and won 89 percent (39 of 44) of his first-serve points. He did not face any break points against Opelka, who fired 19 aces but had trouble converting his second serves into points. While Opelka won 81 percent (30 of 37) of his first serves, his second-serve percentage dipped to 24 percent as he won just five of 21 opportunities.

• No. 8 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-2 win over No. 62 Feliciano Lopez from Spain. De Minaur withstood 10 service aces from Lopez by breaking the Spaniard’s serve four times and outpointing him 65-51. De Minaur will face either top seed David Goffin or qualifier Marcos Giron in Friday’s quarterfinal round.

Evans: ‘I’m in a good spot’

No. 35 Dan Evans of Great Britain over into Friday’s quarterfinal round with a 7-6 (3), 6-2 win over No. 63 Frances Tiafoe from the United States. The Briton, who considers playing indoors his favorite surface, converted three of five break-point chances, including twice in the final set, and won the final four games of the one hour and 41-minute match on Court 1.

”I gave myself a good chance to get into the quarters,” Evans said during his videoconference. “I thought I played a good solid match … better on the big points.”

Next, Evans will face either No. 3 Karen Khachanov of Russia or Belgian wild card Zizou Bergs, ranked No. 528, who won his first ATP Tour main draw match on Tuesday.

Looking ahead, Evans told Tennis TourTalk that he’s looking forward to the Paris Masters in a couple of weeks. “I’m looking forward to Paris, a chance to play the last tournament of the year indoors. It’s a big tournament, Masters series. There’s a good chance to finish the week – and the season – well. I’m in a good spot,” he said.