David Goffin and Vasek Pospisil meet in Montpellier on Saturday as they battle for a spot in the final of the Open Sud de France.
Goffin is into the Montpellier semi-finals for the second time in three years, having also reached the last four in 2017, when he lost to Richard Gasquet. The Belgian will attempt to get into the final for the first time.
He’s yet to lose a set this week, but he’s been pushed hard in each of his matches, needing second-set tie breaks to get past Alexander Bublik and Pierre-Hugues Herbert. He saved five set points in the tie break against Bublik, digging in to take a 20-point breaker in a 6-3 7-6 victory.
He sank into more trouble in his second match against Herbert, trailing 1-4 in the second set, but he fought back to force a tie break. A nervy tie break featured four double faults, two on each side, before Goffin took control to reach two match points at 6-4. Herbert saved the first match point with a brilliant backhand volley, but he sprayed a wayward forehand wide on the second to give Goffin the win.
It wasn’t that long ago when Goffin was No. 33 in the world- June 2019 precisely- but he’s arrived back, almost unnoticed, into the top-ten after a good second half of last season. He made finals in Halle and Cincinnati, reached a semi-final in Tokyo, quarter finals at Wimbledon and the fourth round of the US Open. Goffin ended last year at 11th in the world, but he has since gained one more spot in 2020 to get into the top-10.
He opened his year at the ATP Cup, where he won three of his four matches, including a stunning win over Rafael Nadal in the quarter finals. He then proceeded to the Australian Open, where he was beaten the red-hot Andrey Rublev in a difficult third-round draw.
He has bounced back with a semi-final run in Montpellier, and will attempt to move one step closer to the title when he plays Vasek Pospisil.
Pospisil advanced to his first quarter final since October 2015 when home favourite Richard Gasquet retired hurt from their quarter final while trailing 6-1 1-0.
After years of battling with a back problem, Pospisil finally underwent surgery last January, and that decision is quickly proving to be the right one.
The Canadian missed the first six months of last season, but he ended the season very strongly, winning Challenger titles in Las Vegas and Charlottesville, and playing a key role as Canada advanced to the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid. The 28-year-old had dipped to 248th in the rankings at the start of October, but his good finish to the year helped him to a year-end mark of 149th.
“The past four months, my results have been quite good and I’ve been happier on the court in my movement”, Pospisil said. “I’ve put in a lot of work on the court and in the gym. I have re-started working with my fitness trainer of 2013 and 2014, which has definitely made a difference, as court coverage is a huge part of my game”.
He opened 2020 with a 1-2 record across Auckland and the Australian Open, but he’s moved into a positive win-loss record with his efforts in Montpellier, where he has beaten Aljaz Bedene, Denis Shapovalov and Richard Gasquet without dropping a set. It’s been a fabulous run, and he is not about to stop now as he gets set for a semi-final against Goffin.
Goffin won their only previous meeting in Cincinnati way back in 2013, but he needed a final set tie break to fend off the Canadian. (They also met at the Hopman Cup in 2018; Goffin winning more comfortably in straight sets). With the way Pospisil has been playing this week, the upset is very much on the table here, but I’ll still side with Goffin to be just too solid for the Canadian.