© Hiroshi Sato

David Goffin has reached at least the semi-finals on all three of his Tokyo tournament appearances.

2017 Champion Goffin Sets Tokyo Semi-final Showdown Against Djokovic

Belgian continues fine Tokyo form

Third seed David Goffin has the third-best winning percentage in the history of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships. And on Friday evening, it got even better for the 2017 champion.

Goffin defeated inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals titlist Hyeon Chung 6-2, 6-2 in 54 minutes to reach the semi-finals in Tokyo. The Belgian is now 12-1 in the Japanese capital. He has not fallen short of the last four in his three appearances at the ATP 500 tournament.

"I played a really, really good match," Goffin said. "I'm really happy the way I played."

The four other players who along with Goffin own the Top 5 records here — Pete Sampras (15-0), Stefan Edberg (27-2), Manuel Orantes (10-1) and Jim Courier (14-2) — are all members of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Goffin will face a stern challenge in the next round against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who needed just 50 minutes to dispatch fifth seed Lucas Pouille earlier in the day.

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The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up carried a 2-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead into his quarter-final against Chung, but they had not met since 2017 Basel, nearly two years ago. Goffin broke serve four times and did not face a break point himself.

"[The key] was probably my serve. I think I served really well. It was one of the nights that you feel all of the zones and you have the timing and you feel that you can touch a coin with every serve, and that was the case tonight," Goffin said. "I had a lot of free points. When you start your service game with two or three free points in every service game, it's really nice. Then after that, I played really smart, I returned well... some good passing shots."

A key was how the players performed behind their first serve. Goffin lost just three of those points (27/30), whereas Chung managed to win just 55 per cent (17/31) of points on his first delivery.

Goffin was nearly eliminated from the tournament in the first round, but he has been on a roll ever since. In his opener against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, the Belgian trailed 1-6, 2-4, and then also fell behind 1/5 in the second-set tie-break. But Goffin got through that match, ousted #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov in two tie-breaks and then defeated Chung.

Although Chung did not make the last four, he was the first South Korean to advance to the Tokyo quarter-finals since Hyung-Taik Lee, who reached the semi-finals in 2006. This would have been the World No. 145’s first trip to the last four of an ATP Tour event since 2018 Munich.

Did You Know?
Less than two months ago, in Cincinnati, Goffin became the first Belgian to reach the final of an ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

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