Federer fails to nail Goffin in shock loss

Six-time champion Roger Federer was eliminated from the ATP Finals yesterday by world No. 8 David Goffin. The Belgian won 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the final of the season-ending event.
Six-time champion Roger Federer was eliminated from the ATP Finals yesterday by world No. 8 David Goffin. The Belgian won 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the final of the season-ending event.PHOTO: REUTERS

Belgian scores first win against Swiss great to qualify for ATP Finals finale

LONDON • An overwhelmed David Goffin was speechless after stunning his childhood idol Roger Federer 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals yesterday.

The victory means that the Belgian has defeated the Swiss maestro for the first time in seven career meetings.

He is also only the sixth player to beat both Federer and Rafael Nadal at the same event after overcoming the Spanish world No. 1 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 in the group stage on Tuesday.

"I have no words. I cannot describe how I'm feeling. So much joy, so much happiness. I'm so happy to play the match I played, it was such a special moment," Goffin, 26, told BBC Sport.

"Honestly, I don't know. I think it was just the feeling of the day. I was a little bit nervous when I started the match but I started to feel the ball really well.

"The serve was there right to the end. It was my day."

World No. 2 Federer, who cruised through the round-robin stage undefeated, did not have a good game at the O2 Arena.

The 36-year-old had 37 unforced errors compared to Goffin's 27, although he had eight more winners than the Belgian's 20.

Goffin looked far more aggressive and was not willing to allow Federer to dictate play as the Swiss player lost his precision in the second set.

The Swiss appeared more focused at the start of the deciding set but world No. 8 Goffin broke in the third game to take a 2-1 lead and heap the pressure on Federer.

In a tense fourth game, Federer earned a break point but Goffin fended off his charge to hold and, looking increasingly assured, held again for 4-2.

Goffin rose to serve for the match at 5-4 and made no mistake, holding his nerve to secure a famous victory.

With his loss, Federer has failed to clinch his seventh ATP Finals title after enjoying a remarkable 2017 season following a long layoff last year due to injury.

He won seven titles in total this campaign including the Australian Open and a record eighth Wimbledon crown and only Nadal's equally memorable season denied him the chance to claim the world No. 1 spot again.

Goffin will face either Grigor Dimitrov or Jack Sock, who played each other later in yesterday's other semi-final.

When asked who he would like to compete against, Goffin said: "Whoever it is, it will be a match with a lot of emotion so it will be different to the beginning of the week."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ATP FINALS
Day 8: Final, StarHub Ch201, tomorrow, 2am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 19, 2017, with the headline 'Federer fails to nail Goffin in shock loss'. Print Edition | Subscribe