Friday, 22 January 2016

Goffin d Thiem in great match

One of the hardest matches to predict on day five was the first to be played on Hi Sense Arena.  Belgian David Goffin, seeded 15, faced Austrian Dominic Thiem, seeded 19, fresh from a semi final appearance in Brisbane and one of the young group seen as the next to rule the men's tour once the current top few have finished.

Goffin served first and his forehand dominated but for one passing shot from Thiem and the opening game was in Belgian hands. Continuing to control the rallies, Goffin was more creative and broke the Austrian serve, achieving 2-0.

Again with a damaging forehand, Goffin bypassed a worrying 15-30 to hold convincingly and lead 3-0. Thiem looked off balance at times, and unprepared at the end of searching rallies, of which there had been several already and bound to be many more.

Behind a much more effective serve, Thiem raced to 40-0, but his aggression led to carelessness and deuce.  He steadied with big serving his saviour and was on the board at 1-3.  It was 4-1 in an instant.

Double faults handed break points to Goffin and a wide smash from Thiem donated the game to Goffin who was almost certain to win the set with his 5-1 advantage.

Aside from a double fault, Goffin had nothing with which to deal, Thiem seemingly resigned to his fate.
First set to Belgium 6-1 and no real highlights.

In set two, a forehand winner from Thiem followed by an error and double fault from Goffin gave Thiem break points, the first saved courtesy of Thiem, but not the second, and the Austrian led 2-0 after he had held in the first game as well.

At 30-30 Goffin went long with a forehand, a mistake replicated by Thiem for deuce.  Thiem went one further, pushing a forehand wide, but a kicking serve saved the break point.  A slashing forehand down the line was countered by a double fault and then a superb backhand joined in.  A final useful forehand forced Goffin into error and the game was over.  3-0 to Thiem.

There was a whole lot better tennis from both players in this set, but Goffin was less consistent.

A stunning Goffin backhand winner capped off a long and captivating rally for 30-15.  Thiem replied with a winner of his own and break point came with a Belgian miss.  Goffin escaped this and a number of others to hold for 1-3.

A winner from Goffin set up a break point and it occurred for him and games were back on serve.
Thiem lost the game but won fans for a sporting gesture.  He could have had a point replayed due to a call of out from a shot by Goffin being found to be incorrect.  Instead he gave the point to Goffin, saying that he hadn't been impeded by the call of out by the linesman, and effectively the rally eventually was won by the Belgian, had the call not being made.

Serves were held without drama for Thiem to hold sway 4-3, but with Goffin to serve for equity.
He failed to do so and Thiem served for the set at 5-3.

A strong backhand took Thiem to 30-0 before a super Goffin backhand from the third row of the crowd closed the margin.  At 30-30 a fine serve gave the first set point to Thiem but it was saved.  The second set point was also lost with a netted backhand from the nineteenth seed.  A forehand long from an exasperated Thiem wasted a third set point but a netted return from Goffin on the fourth chance closed out set two for Thiem 6-3

Sets were 1-1

Goffin settled immediately in the third set, holding serve twice with comfort and in between taking the time to break the Thiem delivery with sheer consistency.  3-0 to Belgium.

A forehand winner from Thiem was followed by a double fault and a wide backhand.  Two good hits from the service line registered a game for the Austrian and it was 1-3.

An ace from the Goffin racquet helped him to 40-15 and the game was his once a Thiem forehand flew long. 4-1 Goffin with break.

Thiem needed desperately to hold serve here.  He did with ease, an ace to reach 2-4.
Goffin began with a service winner and was then donated a netted return. 30-15 came with a long Goffin forehand and a wide Thiem forehand produced two game points for Goffin, the first of which was used when Thiem hit the net.  Goffin led 5-2.

Having pushed Goffin out of court, Thiem put away a winner into open court to lead 30-0 en route to a love game.  5-3 Goffin and serving for the set.

A backhand volley was not enough and Thiem passed with ease for 15-15 but Goffin proceeded unfazed.  At 30-30 though he worried as a backhand whizzed past him setting up a break point.  Thiem missed a golden opportunity with Goffin stuck at the net and break point was saved.  Another break point was created and this one was converted with menace, the down the line winner a beauty from Thiem.  4-5 and still the Austrian needed to hold to stay alive in the set.

A backhand winner from Goffin on the opening point was followed by him falling while trying to change direction on the next point.  No physical damage but Thiem won the next points to hold serve and level at 5-5.

A delightful backhand down the line winner from Goffin and a similar strike from Thiem from the backhand wing, were shining lights in an otherwise uninspiring game which from 40-0 reached deuce and went back and forth before Goffin held for 6-5.  Thiem ensured a tiebreak.

Ace to start for Goffin. And at the net Goffin was in charge. A forehand winner down the line and Goffin led 3-0 with two mini breaks. A wild forehand from Thiem gave Goffin 5-0 before Thiem finally scored a point and they changed ends.  A Thiem ace brought it to 2-5 but a netted ground stroke gave four set points to the Belgian.  He only needed one, sealing it with a forehand winner down the line.

Goffin led 6-1 3-6 7-6. The match was full of good tennis thanks to the second and third sets, and the standard was increasing.

Thiem began the fourth set and won the first game to love.  Goffin drew Thiem into mistakes on the way to also holding to love and it was 1-1.
Goffin had three break points all of a sudden and wonderful winning shots by Thiem saved two.  A service winner brought it to deuce.  Break chance #4 was converted with a slashing return winner and Goffin led 2-1 in both sets and games.

A Goffin ace for 40-0 and then a forehand response from Thiem a mere delay as Goffin flew to 3-1.
Big serving was the foundation for a quick game from Thiem which clicked the score over to 2-3.

Thiem was not as patient as Goffin, trying to win rallies too early instead of waiting one or two more shots before the right opportunity.

Goffin yet again saved a break point with a clear winner and won the game much later with a forehand winner.  He now had a 4-2 edge.

15-15 after a stunning return from Goffin.  A brilliant forehand down the line gave Thiem game point which he threw away with a bad miss.  He did hold to trail 3-4.

Quality serving from Goffin brought him within a game of winning the match 5-3. 

A netted backhand from Thiem and 0-15. Another backhand this one long 0-30. Backhand winner this time 15-30. Service winner 30-30. Goffin slashing forehand pass and match point.  Saved with a lovely forehand pass from Thiem.  Another forehand winner then a service winner and game to Thiem.  Sensational tennis !  

5-4 Goffin and serving for a fourth round berth.

What a rally to start the game and a great forehand from Thiem to force the error 0-15.  Unlucky hitting the net and flying out for Thiem on the second point 15-15.  Backhand forced the next Goffin mistake 15-30 Big serve for 30-30. Unbelievable Thiem backhand down the line and break point. And the break is there with Goffin hitting a forehand wide. 5-5.

A great return of serve set up break point which was converted and Goffin led 6-5 once more giving him the chance to serve for the match.

One return winner was insufficient to stop David Goffin serving out one of the highest quality matches of the tournament so far.

He won 6-1 3-6 7-6 7-5 and will play either Dimitrov or Federer in the round of sixteen.

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