World number forty-two Fernando Verdasco knocked out fourth seed David Goffin, 6-1, 7-6(6), to advance to the quarterfinals of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. Verdasco will now face the winner of Ivo Karlovic v Karen Khachanov for a place in the semifinals.
Although Goffin found himself with a few chances, Verdasco dominated the first set as the Belgian was unable to deal with the power that was being thrown at him. The Belgian finally settled into the match in the second set and raised his level, but again he missed too many chances. Many break points were missed and although he was able to break Verdasco as he was serving for the set twice, he was too inconsistent in the tiebreak to come back into the match. Verdasco's forehand was firing from start to finish as he secured an impressive win over the world number eleven.
Dominant opening set
Verdasco raced through a love hold to begin. Big serves took Goffin through a love hold of his own as both players settled quickly into the match. The Belgian then took a lead on return with a deep backhand crosscourt drawing the error from Verdasco. A couple of powerful serves from the Spaniard got him through another comfortable hold for a 2-1 lead.
Huge back-to-back forehand winners from Verdasco left Goffin in danger at 0-30. Good serving from the Belgian leveled them at 30-30 but Verdasco was again bullying Goffin around the court with his forehand, firing another clean winner to earn a break point. The break point was quickly saved but a horrible backhand miss from Goffin brought up another, which Verdasco took with a crosscourt backhand winner.
The lead was quickly in trouble as a couple of errors from the Spaniard left Goffin ahead at 0-30. A forehand into the net brought up two break-back points for the Belgian that were quickly saved with two huge serves from Verdasco. Another two break points came and went for Goffin as he struggled to deal with the power of the Spaniard, and an ace sealed a 4-1 lead for Verdasco.
A second break followed for Verdasco with a bad service game from the Belgian allowing him to serve for the set at 5-1. The Spaniard had a slow start as he tried to serve out the opener, allowing Goffin a look at two break back points. Huge groundstrokes got Verdasco out of trouble again as he secured the 6-1 opener in under half an hour.
Tightly contested finish
Goffin got back on track with a love hold to begin the second set. Verdasco came through a much tougher game, surviving a break point and sealing the hold with an ace, with Goffin now having missed out on eight break point opportunities. Goffin went into the lead for the first time with an impressive hold taking him 2-1 ahead as the wind picked up.
More chances arrived for Goffin on return, with impressive defense and strong backhands pushing Verdasco to deuce. Two returns drifted long to give Verdasco the hold in another tight service game. The Belgian was playing far above the level of the opening set but Verdasco still managed to push him on serve. A perfect defensive lob from the Spaniard followed by another punishing forehand winner took the pair to deuce but the Belgian still managed to come through the tightly contested game.
Another break point was lost for Goffin as Verdasco held for 3-3. Verdasco was pushing on return again, some outstanding defense finished off with another scorching forehand brought up a break point and he took advantage, firing another forehand down the line to take the lead.
Yet more chances were lost for Goffin as he missed a backhand at 30-30 on the Verdasco serve, allowing the Spaniard to consolidate the break and take a 5-3 lead. Verdasco pushed through to deuce as he attempted to close out the match on the return. A perfectly weighted lob brought up a match point for the Spaniard but Goffin managed to hold on and force Verdasco to serve for the match.
Goffin took a quick lead on return with the help of a double fault from Verdasco. The Belgian finally managed to take advantage, getting his first break of the match on his tenth attempt with a forehand down the line winner to level the pair at 5-5. Another break followed as Verdasco dominated with his forehand again, making the most of a drop in the level of the Belgian's serving to earn another opportunity to serve for the match.
Two break points again followed for Goffin but this time Verdasco managed to save both, one with a massive forehand and the other with an ace. Two match points were lost with errors as the pressure was on Verdasco to close it out and Goffin made the most of the opportunity, taking his fourth break point of the game to force a tiebreak.
Verdasco fired a backhand down the line winner to take a mini-break lead straight away but Goffin recovered to level the breaker at 1-1 with some excellent defensive play. Verdasco managed to earn the break back for 4-2 but a shocking volley into the net brought them back on serve. Goffin handed the mini-break back again with an error and Verdasco again failed to make the most of it, handing the mini-break back on his fourth match point. The match looked over for a second as a shot from Goffin was called out at 5-6, but a challenge confirmed that it was in and extended the breaker. It was only extended momentarily as Verdasco took the lead again and finally secured the win on his sixth match point.