World No. 16 David Goffin kicked off his 2021 season in style as he saved a total of five match points against close friend Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round at the Antalya Open. Herbert, ranked at No. 83 in the world, was on the verge of claiming a straight-set win but then Goffin created a big comeback to avoid a surprise exit from the tournament.
Herbert broke Goffin in the ninth game of the second set to give himself a chance to serve out for the match but the second-seeded Belgian then won nine consecutive games to claim a 3-6 7-5 6-0 win. "It’s always great to start the new year with a tough win, saving match points,” Goffin told the ATP website.
“It was definitely tricky to play Pierre. I’m happy with the way I played, especially after the beginning. I stayed in the match and believed until the end”.
Goffin struggled mightily before he completely turned the things around
Goffin claimed the first break of the match in the third game of the first set but then got broken back in the following game.
Goffin claimed one more break in the first set but lost his serve two more times as Herbert won the opener. Herbert started the second set with a break but Goffin broke back the Frenchman in the second game. Herbert claimed his second break of the set in the ninth game but failed to serve out for the match as Goffin saved five match points in the 10th game.
Herbert's game completely fell apart after failing to serve out for the match as Goffin earned four more breaks to progress into the round-of-16. Meanwhile, top-seeded Matteo Berrettini had a much calmer start to his Antalya campaign as he easily saw off local wildcard Ergi Kirkin 6-0 6-4.
Berrettini, who played only one tournament last year before the Tour got suspended mid-March, is feeling healthy at the beginning of this season. “I thought it was important to play in the first week of the season, ahead of the Australian swing,” Berrettini said.
“I have been working hard and for the first time in two years haven’t been affected by an injury [coming into a new season]. I thought I played well today and I’m looking to build my confidence in Antalya, where I have played four times before when I was starting my career”.