Grigor Dimitrov will attempt to reach a fourth straight semi-final in 2017 when he takes on Belgium’s David Goffin at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament on Friday.
Grigor Dimitrov vs David Goffin ATP ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament tennis is live from Rotterdam on Friday, February 17 from 7:30pm local time/ 6:30GMT
There is no stopping Grigor Dimitrov at the moment. The Bulgarian appears to have hit that auto-pilot mode, when victories come almost as a routine, regardless of performance. That painful defeat against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open remains his only loss so far this year. He has amassed a 16-1 run in 2017, including a current winning streak of six matches. His excellent run has already yielded titles in Brisbane and his home tournament in Sofia, while he also has that Australian Open semi-final on his resume. Should he defeat David Goffin on Friday, the Bulgarian would have made four straight semi-finals to start the year. He is playing some big-time tennis at the moment.
Dimitrov was not quite at his best in the opening stanza of his opening encounter against Germany’s Mischa Zverev, dropping the first set on a tie break before recovering to win in three. Next up was Denis Istomin, in repeat of their Australian Open fourth round tie. Back in Melbourne, Djokovic-slayer Istomin raced through the opening set before losing out in four sets, his quest derailed by an injury.
Determined not to give his opponent a head start this time around, Dimitrov made a quick start in Rotterdam, and broke the Istomin serve in the first game of the match. However, the Uzbekistani wasn’t about to concede easily, and he restored parity at 4-4, and the set would eventually come down to a tie break.
Both players had a set point, but it was the Bulgarian who converted on his second opportunity to take the crucial opener. That allowed him to free up his shoulders a little bit more in the second set. He broke at the first time of asking, and broke again for 5-1 before closing out the match to love. The world number twelve did not face a single break point in a dominant set of tennis.
David Goffin. (Photo by: PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)
Dimitrov’s Australian Open victory over Istomin was followed by victory over David Goffin; the same order plays out in Rotterdam, but will it be the same outcome?
Dimitrov has actually played (and beaten Goffin) in his last two tournaments, Melbourne and Sofia- Goffin must be sick of the sight of the Bulgarian. A lot has been said about Dimitrov’s form, but Friday’s opponent, Goffin is also putting together a quite decent year. He has now made three quarter finals in a row, with Rotterdam coming after similar trips in Melbourne and Sofia.
As mentioned earlier, he lost to Dimitrov in those two tournaments (QF in Melbourne, and final in Sofia). He will hope Friday is third-time lucky.
He did give Dimitrov a bit to think about in their most recent meeting at the Sofia final, where he fought back from the dead to create a bit of panic in the Dimitrov camp. Goffin looked out for the count when he trailed 7-5 5-0, but the Belgian raised his aggression to recover the double break. He couldn’t quite complete the job as he dropped his serve at 4-5 to concede the match.
That loss notwithstanding, it was a fine week from Goffin- and he has been compiling another in Rotterdam.
The world number 11 opened his Rotterdam campaign with a straight forward 6-3 6-2 victory over dangerous Russian, Andrey Kuznetsov, but he had to wriggle out of a tough situation in a 5-7 6-4 6-4 second round victory over Robin Haase- the result that set up his latest meeting with Dimitrov.
Overall Dimitrov leads the head-to-head 6-0, but two of those meeting s came in the futures Circuit, while another was on the Challenger Tour. Dimitrov leads 3-0 in ATP matches.
The match-up is horrible for Goffin. He is not the most powerful of players, and so even when he throws the kitchen sink at Dimitrov, the Bulgarian’s game may suffer only a dent, rather than crack. Goffin’s offense is simply not enough to pierce Dimitrov’s defence.
And when the Bulgarian does get on the front-foot, his offence is adorned with plenty of power and variety.
Dimitrov has dominated Goffin through this rivalry, and that is set to be the case again when the two men meet in Rotterdam on Friday.