Goffin Battles To Take Sofia Opener
Goffin was two points away from winning the match in straight sets, tied at 7/7 in the second-set tie-break, but the right-hander regrouped and didn't face a break point in the third set. Goffin will meet Italian Andreas Seppi or countryman Steve Darcis in the quarter-finals.
“I could have finished the match in the second but I didn't,” Goffin said. “It was not easy, the first match here in Sofia. The conditions are really tough. It's not easy to control the ball, and it was not easy to find my rhythm but I'm happy to have another match in two days so hopefully it's going to be better.”
Defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut joined Goffin in the quarter-finals by dismissing German qualifier Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 7-6(4), 6-3. The Spaniard improved to 10-1 on the season, having won his fifth career ATP World Tour title last month in Chennai and having reached the fourth round of the Australian Open (l. to No. 3 Raonic).
“I think I played very good tennis. I competed very well and I'm happy because it was a really great opponent today,” Bautista Agut said.
Ninth seed Viktor Troicki, a finalist a year ago, needed only 50 minutes to beat Turkish wild card Cem Ilkel 6-3, 6-2. The Serbian didn't face a break point and converted three of four break points. Troicki will meet Dutchman Robin Haase in the second round.
Jerzy Janowicz celebrated a milestone victory after an injury-prone 2016. The 26-year-old Pole dismissed Israeli Dudi Sela 6-4, 6-4 for his first tour-level win since October 2015 in Vienna. Janowicz played only three tour-level matches last season because of back and knee injuries.
“I was injured for a long time. I was struggling with my knee quite heavily,” Janowicz said. “It's always nice to be back on track. Still a long way to go but it's nice to win.”
Janowicz's reward: a second-round meeting with third seed and home favourite Grigor Dimitrov. The two are an even 1-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. “We used to play in juniors and we always have a huge fight on the court,” Janowicz said. “Tomorrow I think it's going to be a really nice match to watch.”