Novak Djokovic is through to the final to defend his Miami Open crown after defeating 15th seed David Goffin in straight sets 7-6 (5), 6-4. The world number one had dominated their previous encounters, winning all three prior matches. His last victory over Goffin came at the 2015 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in the last 16. The Belgian was contesting his second straight Masters 1000 semifinal, after a big run at Indian Wells last week.
Great Start For Goffin
Goffin started off strongly, holding his first two service games comprehensively and creating three break point opportunities with no reward. In a marathon fourth game, the Belgian was down break point for the second time and hit a sublime lob, which landed plum on the baseline for the save. The Belgian eventually prevailed to hold in a game just over 11 minutes. That hold spurred Goffin on, as he hit a few winners and forced errors from the world number one to secure the first break of the match.
The Defending Champion Responds
The top seed and defending champion was stung into action after that previous game and responded immediately. Djokovic would break back to level the score at 4-4. A brilliant display of Djokovic attack and Goffin defense was featured in a 21 shot rally that saw the Serb apply pressure on the Belgian's serve at 30-30. The 15th seed was able to edge through the game to hold and take the first set to a tiebreak.
Goffin Misses Opportunities in Tiebreak
The tiebreak was a real ordeal for Goffin, as the Belgian missed a guilt edged backhand at 2-2 to squander the chance of gaining a mini-break. The 15th seed then found himself 4-2 down, before fighting back after the changeover to 4-4.
The following point proved to be crucial in deciding the first set as Goffin had the whole court to put an overhead away. Instead, he put the ball straight back at Djokovic, who returned the ball into play and won the point after an extended exchange. Goffin managed to save the first set point down 6-4, but then relinquished an advantageous position in the following point as Djokovic hit an unreturnable lob to secure the first set.
The Serb Takes Control
In the fourth game of the second set, Djokovic hit a backhand winner down the line which was called good, only for Hawkeye to overrule and present Goffin with a break point. The 15th seed opted for the aggressive second serve return, but completely mishit it t allow the top seed to hold.
In the seventh game, Goffin looked mentally fatigued as he slumped on serve. He was outlasted in the rallies to hand the pivotal break to the world number one. Djokovic followed up the break with a hold to love and served out the match in style with a perfect serve to secure a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win.
The win puts Djokovic into his 7th career final at the Miami Open. He is six for six in winning the title when he has made the final. The Serb will face Kei Nishikori looking for the three-peat in Miami, winning in both 2014 and 2015.