It seemed a festive celebration as Belgian fans chanted the name of David Goffin as he put the bow on a victory at the 2016 French Open. The 12th-seeded player had only a few blips as he defeated Argentinian Carlos Berlocq 7-5, 6-1, 6-4. It was a spirited affair that saw the two men exchange long and grinding rallies that delighted a raucous crowd favoring the Belgian.
Goffin starts strong after a Berlocq break
At thirty-three years old, Berlocq entered the match as a qualifier looking to topple the high-seeded Goffin. The match began as an even affair before Berlocq's backhand went to work. In the second game, two backhand winners combined with errors on the Goffin forehand gave the Argentine an early break. Goffin, however, would allow that small victory to be short-lived. He ended his opponent's following service game with a powerful forehand smash that leveled the set once again.
Goffin's forehand was in peak form today. He would draw from it once again in the first set as he used it to break Berlocq in the eleventh game. All told, the Belgian would hit twenty winners, the bulk of which came from the power of his forehand, in the first set. Berlocq for his part, only managed half as many winners in the first, a development that surely contributed to the 7-5 set win of Goffin.
Goffin gets a little help from the crowd
Goffin, the top-ranked Belgian player was lifted by a strong contingent of his countrymen. Several Belgians made the trip to see the red clay of Roland Garros and cheer on their hero. They made their presence felt in a big way.
Chants of "Da-vid Gof-fin!" were loud, long, and consistent throughout the match. Many of those boisterous moments came after long rallies between the Belgian and his Argentinian counterpart.
The two would battle back and forth before Goffin usually went back to his forehand to put the point away. It was the case in the second set, where Berlocq only managed to win one game. It wasn't from lack of effort; he simply had trouble with any attempts to land the right shot during the long rallies. Often the move would backfire and Berlocq would commit another error. Two such miscues contributed to Goffin break of the 111th-ranked player in the world. He would overpower his opponent to a 6-1 win in the second set.
The fourth and final set was a fiery affair as well. Berlocq managed to break Goffin in the fifth game with a winner off his backhand. The higher seed could only win just a single point in that service game.
However, Goffin was not to be denied another straight sets victory at the French Open. He toppled his opponent with dozens of groundstrokes throughout the day. The powerful play flummoxed him in game 5 of the final set. The frustrated Argentinian would eventually commit two errors on serve that gave Goffin breaks. The final error came in the final game of the match. It was a game in which Goffin set up match point with a forehand winner that sent the crowd to its feet.
The world number thirteen advances to the next round to face clay master Nicolas Almagro of Spain.