Read & Watch: 2017 Champ Goffin Glides Past Shapovalov In Tokyo
Third seed David Goffin has proven tough to beat in Tokyo, walking onto Colosseum at Ariake Tennis Park Thursday with a 10-1 record at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships. And despite some moments of brilliance, #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov could not find a way in the key moments to change that.
Goffin, the 2017 Tokyo champion, defeated Shapovalov 7-6(5), 7-6(2) after one hour and 57 minutes to reach the quarter-finals at this ATP 500 event for the third time in three appearances. In 2016, the Belgian made the final before losing to Aussie Nick Kyrgios.
“It was tough. He was serving really well and I knew it’d be long sets with some tie-breaks. I tried to break him during the whole match, I didn’t, but I served really well. We were both really solid on our service games and during the tie-breaks I played very well,” Goffin said. “I’m really happy about my performance because it was a good fight.”
There were no breaks of serve in the battle, with Goffin saving the two break points he faced and Shapovalov staving off the four opportunities he confronted. But 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up Goffin won six of the first seven points in the first-set tie-breaks and the first six points of the second-set tie-break to gain insurmountable leads against the shotmaking 20-year-old.
Shapovalov showed plenty of fight, coming from 1/6 in the first-set tie-break to 5/6. But the dynamic lefty dug himself holes too deep to climb out of. And Goffin continued his pursuit of a fifth ATP Tour title.
Goffin, who became the first Belgian to reach an ATP Masters 1000 final in Cincinnati, is into his seventh tour-level quarter-final of 2019. He will next play 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung, who upset sixth seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
“Today I think I was a little bit better. But he was serving so well, lefty, serving everywhere, great second serve as well, so it was tough to break him today,” Goffin said of Shapovalov. “I had to fight, but I was playing much better today.”
Shapovalov has also performed well in Tokyo, making the semi-finals last year on his debut. But the Canadian could not reach the quarter-finals for the second consecutive week after making the last four last week in Chengdu.
Did You Know?
Goffin is trying to finish inside the year-end Top 20 of the ATP Rankings for the fourth time in five years. Last year, the Belgian completed his season as World No. 22.