David Goffin continues his bid for a first ATP title since 2017 when he faces Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the Open Sud de France quarter-finals in Montpellier on Friday.
David Goffin ?? vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert ?? Match Info
Date: Friday February 7
Tournament: ATP Montpellier, QF
Court: Patrice Dominguez
Time: 8.30pm local time (7.30pm GMT)
David Goffin vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert Head-to-Head
Goffin leads 4-0
2020 | Australian Open R64 | Goffin 6-1 6-4 4-6 1-6 6-3
2019 | s-Hertogenbosch R16 | Goffin 6-3 7-5
2018 | Washington R32 | Goffin 6-2 1-6 7-6(5)
2017 | Rotterdam SF | Goffin 6-1 6-3
David Goffin vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert Match Preview
Goffin goes in search of his fifth straight win over close friend Herbert as the pair clash for the second straight tournament after the Belgian prevailed in five sets at the Australian Open last month.
Aiming for his first title in almost three years in Montpellier this week, Goffin survived a tough battle against the enigmatic Alexander Bublik in his opening match on Thursday, saving five set points in the second set to defeat the Kazakh by a 6-3 7-6(9) scoreline. Goffin easily could have found himself in a deciding set, but the second seed’s consistency managed to outlast Bublik’s shotmaking in the end, while he also took advantage of an underarm serve while down set point in the tiebreak, responding with a backhand winner up the line.
Freshly returned to the top 10, Goffin is aiming for his first ATP title since triumphing in Tokyo in 2017 this week in Montpellier, with his best result at this tournament coming in 2018 when he made the semi-finals before falling to three-time champion Richard Gasquet.
2017 was Goffin’s career-best season – the Belgian ended the year at No. 7 in the world after finishing runner-up at the Nitto ATP Finals, defeating No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Roger Federer along the way before falling to Grigor Dimitrov. Goffin won 59 matches that season and captured two ATP titles in Shenzhen and Tokyo, while he also advanced to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and led Belgium to the Davis Cup final.
However, a freak eye injury the following year in Rotterdam would halt Goffin’s momentum, and to be honest, he’s never really regained his 2017 form despite making his way back into the top 10 this week. Goffin did suffer other injuries to his elbow and shoulder that saw his ranking drop in 2018, but he made solid progress back up the rankings in 2019, becoming the first Belgian to reach a Masters 1000 final when he did so in Cincinnati, while he also reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals and U.S. Open fourth round.
With three wins out of four at the ATP Cup (including beating Nadal again) and a third round finish at the Australian Open (lost to an in-form Andrey Rublev), it’s been a very solid start to 2020 for Goffin – can he keep it going in Montpellier this week?
He runs into Herbert for the second tournament running on Friday. The big-serving Frenchman was a finalist in Montpellier last year, beating the likes of Denis Shapovalov and Tomas Berdych before going down to compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Hoping to go one step further this week, Herbert hasn’t dropped a set in advancing to the last eight, taking out Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2 7-5 and rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(2) 7-5.
Herbert reached his career-high ranking of No. 36 straight after making last year’s Montpellier final, but he’s coming into the tournament at No. 67 after some bad periods throughout 2019, including a stage where he lost in the opening round for seven tournaments in a row. Not even solid semi-final runs in Budapest and the ATP 500 event in Halle could earn him a top 50 ranking, and if Herbert doesn’t repeat his run to the final in Montpellier, he will fall even further down the rankings. Sometimes I wonder if Herbert’s doubles success impacts his singles play – the Frenchman has almost done it all in doubles, winning all four Grand Slams, the Nitto ATP Finals and seven of the nine Masters 1000 titles in his career.
The 28-year-old launched 2020 by making the Doha quarter-finals, while as mentioned, he lost to Goffin in the second round of the Australian Open.
David Goffin vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert Prediction
Herbert has a good record indoors and at French 250s, but he doesn’t have a good record against Goffin, failing to beat him in their previous four meetings. He’s managed to keep some matches close, but Goffin always has the answers when it matters most. The Belgian is a great returner and that has propelled him to success against Herbert in the past. I expect a fifth win for Goffin on Friday.