By Ros Satar at the O2, London
- David Goffin  def. Roger Federer  2-6 6-3 6-4
LONDON, UK – David Goffin backed up his win over Rafael Nadal by dumping Roger Federer out of the Nitto ATP Finals semi-finals.
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David Goffin beats Roger Federer for the first time in seven attempts
Coming into his first Finals in his own right, David Goffin had revealed that after an ankle injury in the third round of Roland Garros this year threatened to de-rail his year, this goal had been a long way away. However once he had picked up momentum at the end of the year, including back to back titles in Shenzhen and Tokyo, he set his mind to go for London qualification.
His reward has been to beat both the World No. 1 (Rafael Nadal) and World No. 2 (Roger Federer) in the same tournament – the sixth player to beat the pair in the same tournament in history, with the last time being Novak Djokovic at this tournament in 2015.
Yet at the start it looked like this was going to be seventh time unlucky for the Belgian. He had hinted he would try something different, but had no clue what, and after a long battle surrendered the first game, putting Federer firmly in the driving seat as the Swiss wrapped up the first set in just 33 minutes.
But patience paid off – Goffin broke early to build up his own 4-1 lead in the second set, and with accurate serving, more aggression and forays to the net, the tide turned, as he confidently served out the second set.
Into the decider, it was Federer who blinked first breaking and more importantly defending to bat away a break point on his own serve to consolidate his lead.
There would be no more break point chances for either man after that passage of play as Goffin held on to the advantage.
Goffin said, after the match: “It was not an easy match. Of course, it was not easy. When I started to play against him, I was a little bit nervous. I started to be just solid. But against him it’s not enough to be just solid, because it’s perfect, the perfect pace for him, he can do whatever he wants.
“Then I wanted to change something because I was nervous. I started to feel the ball better at the end of the first set, so I wanted to be more aggressive. As soon as I had the chance to go for the shot from the return and from the serve also was the key to go for the shot.
“It paid off. I started to serve well. My forehand was going much better. I was really aggressive. I came to the net. Yeah, when you see me at the net, it is something good (smiling).”
We saw the nerves in his closing out of the match against Nadal, and he revealed he had to focus on the big screen at the end to take his mind off coming out to serve for the match.
“It was good there was a screen on the changeover. I was more relaxed so I didn’t think about the first point or the game I have to play. I was watching the highlights of the previous game. I was a little bit more relaxed.
“As soon as the chair umpire said, Time, I was ready with the ball. I didn’t have time to think about what I have to do. I served an ace. When you start the game with an ace, it’s always better.”
The final will take place at 6pm GMT.
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