Rafael Nadal and David Goffin met for the sixth time at the 2020 ATP Cup. The Belgian scored his second victory over the Spaniard, prevailing 6-4, 7-6 in two hours and 23 minutes. David was happy about his performance, remaining aggressive and controlling the points.
The Belgian knew it was the only way to beat a great rival, who 'would have killed him' in other circumstances. The Spaniard came from Perth to Sydney, changing the court and conditions. Nadal could not find his usual rhythm, not playing well in the opener and failing to force a decider.
Thus, he experienced only his third loss since Madrid last year! Aggressive and determined to keep his country in contention for a place in the semi-final, Goffin played at full speed. He dictated the exchanges with deep balls and opened the court for over 30 winners, keeping momentum on his side.
David Goffin defeated Rafael Nadal in Sydney at the beginning of 2020.
David tamed Rafa's first serve, hammering forehands from every part of the court and fending off eight out of ten break chances to mount the pressure on world no.
1. Nadal stayed far away from his usual serving performance, offering Goffin 14 break chances and losing serve three times. The Spaniard did a better job in the second set, but it was not enough to force a decider. Goffin endured a challenging service game at 3-4 in the opening set to stay on the positive side.
David stole Rafa's serve in the next one and closed the set in game ten for 6-4. After an early break, the Belgian had the upper hand in set number two. He wasted a couple of break chances that could have sent him 5-2 up, 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 in the tie break. David gained two mini-breaks and sealed the deal with an ace at 6-3 to achieve one of his most notable victories in a career.
"I felt my game is back at its best, first against Grigor Dimitrov, which gave me confidence, and especially against Rafa tonight. I hit the zone right from the first point, moving well and taking the ball early to dictate the rallies; otherwise, I would have been dead against Rafa.
My serve was also effective, although holding nerves while being a set and a break up was not easy. I had to work hard at 4-5 and 5-6 in set number two before the tie break, where I played well again to seal the deal, thrilled with the level I produced.
It helps a lot when your team is in the corner, supporting you. Our captain Steve Darcis is a good friend, and there was also my coach Thomas Johansson; it was great to have them both on my side, encouraging me and sharing tips and advice, which helped me a lot," David Goffin said.