Tokyo (AFP/APP): David Goffin of Belgium advanced to the Japan Open quarterfinals after squeezing by Canada’s Denis Shapovalov 7-6(7/5), 7-6(7/2) Thursday.
Both men kept all of their service games — with Shapovalov nailing 10 aces against third-seed Goffin’s four — in the close match that lasted nearly two hours. Goffin, winner here in 2017, used his footwork to survive two break points while the big-serving Canadian kept up the pressure.
Goffin will now face Chung Hyeon of South Korea, who pulled an upset victory against sixth-seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. “It was tough. We were both really solid on our service games,” Goffin said of his match. “But he (Shapovalov) was serving so well. A lefty, serving everywhere. Great second serves as well. So it was tough to break him today. So I had to fight.”
Match data, however, provided proof that Goffin kept an edge above his opponent, landing 70 percent of his first serves, against 52 percent by Shapovalov. Meanwhile Asian rising star Chung also submitted fiery tennis against the veteran Croat, with an early break in the first set giving him a head start toward victory.
The 23-year-old aced 11 times and logged one double fault, while Cilic suffered seven double faults with eight aces. Chung was on fire throughout the match, having scored points on 90 percent of all of his successful first serves. In the rest of the tournament, Japanese wild card Taro Daniel defeated Australian rival Jordan Thompson 6-4, 7-6(7/3).
He will next face Australian qualifier John Millman, who defeated South African Lloyd Harris 6-3, 6-2. World number one Novak Djokovic, returning from a shoulder injury, is scheduled to play French fifth-seed Lucas Pouille on Friday.