Goffin Shines Against Simon

Belgian advances to first Miami Open semi-final

No. 15 David Goffin was victorious in his first quarter-final appearance at the Miami Open presented by Itau on Wednesday, rallying to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 against No. 18 Gilles Simon after light rain delayed the start of the match. Goffin became the first Belgian to make the final four in Miami and improved to 14-5 on hard courts in 2016. He also leveled his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Simon at 1-1.

“The first set was tough because it was a good set with a good level,” Goffin said. “Gilles was really solid on his baseline, but I didn't serve really well in the first set. I didn't get any free points with my serve, so it was tough.

“I had so many opportunities to come back in the set. I didn't take my opportunities to come back. I knew that the level was there and I had to keep going like this, just to stay more focused on some shots to finish the points. Maybe just be more precise, because I knew that I was feeling really good.”

The fleet-footed Goffin surrendered the only break in the opening set, but deserved a better fate, having held six break chances (0/6) to Simon’s two (1/2). Despite winning half as many games as his opponent, Goffin won only four fewer points throughout a windy and overcast first set (32/68).

As the sun broke through the clouds, the 25 year old continued to work hard and was rewarded. Goffin punished Simon’s second serves (10/14 second serve return point won) in the second set and converted all three break points to level the match. The 31-year-old Frenchman could not find any solutions for the Belgian’s tenacious baseline attack in the decider and succumbed in just under two hours. It was Simon’s third quarter-final loss in Miami (2011 and 2013).

Looming in the semi-finals will be Novak Djokovic or Tomas Berdych. The two are set to clash in the quarter-finals on Wednesday night.

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