Facing each other for the sixth time, David Goffin took down world no. 1 Rafael Nadal for the second time, scoring a 6-4, 7-6 triumph in two hours and 23 minutes to keep Belgium alive against Spain. The Belgians had played the group stage of the ATP Cup here in Sydney while the Spaniards had to come from Perth and change both the court and conditions, with Nadal not finding his natural balance and rhythm.
Delivering pale performance in the first part of the match, the Spaniard struggled to keep the pace and impose his shots, battling hard for every point until the end but still falling short in straight sets to suffer only the third loss after Madrid in May last year!
Aggressive and determined to keep his country in the contention for the place in the semis, Goffin threw everything he had on Nadal, dictating the exchanges with deep ballas and opening the court for more than 30 winners that kept the momentum on his side of the court.
David managed to tame Nadal's first serve, hammering down his forehands and fending off eight out of ten break chances to limit the damage in his games and mount the pressure on Rafa who offered no less than 14 opportunities to the Belgian, unable to find free points with the initial shot despite much better performance in set number two.
Goffin endured tough service game at 3-4 in the opening set, breaking Rafa in the next game and closing it with a hold in game ten for a 6-4. The lower-ranked player controlled the pace in set number two as well after an early break, wasting a couple of break chances that could have sent him 5-2 up and allowing Rafa to pull the break back and level the score at 4-4.
The Spaniard found his strokes in those moments but the Belgian was not to be denied today, gaining two mini-breaks and sealing the deal with an ace at 6-3 in the breaker to deliver one of his best victories in a career.