One of the most interesting clashes of the day at the Australian Open sees 11th seed David Goffin take on eighth seed Dominic Thiem, with both looking to make their second Grand Slam quarterfinal after both reached their first, facing each other, at the French Open last year.
Goffin edges the head to head 4-3, and won their third round meeting in Melbourne in four sets last year, though Thiem won the previously mentioned clash at Roland Garros, in what is the latest meeting between the two.
This will be the second match on the Rod Laver Arena, with the winner facing 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov or wildcard Denis Istomin in the quarterfinal.
So far in Melbourne
Goffin started against American qualifier Reilly Opelka, eventually edging past the big-serving young star in a tight five-set encounter. Following that, the Belgian faced another qualifier, Radek Stepanek, though easily saw off the Czech and was also comfortable against 20th seed Ivo Karlovic, who he saw off in straight sets; the Belgian has rounded into form nicely.
Meanwhile, Thiem was also tested in his first round match, coming from a set down to beat Jan-Lennard Struff in four sets. Despite a strong start, the eighth seed was pushed to four sets by Jordan Thompson in the second round, and also by Benoit Paire in the third round, though has eventually eased to victory; he may need to improve slightly against his toughest opponent so far.
Thiem has the bigger weapons of the two, which could be a notable advantage, and is also the slightly stronger server, so should use these advantages to try and dictate play and kill off points early. However, Goffin is a very solid player so the Austrian must be careful to not get too frustrated and make too many errors; he could be made to pay for it. Furthermore, one of Thiem’s weaknesses is break point conversion, and it seems that he must try to take as many opportunities as possible against a consistent opponent like the Belgian, as he may not get too many.
After a tight first round match, Goffin has been in great form and should look to bring a similar level to this encounter. The Belgian may be overpowered slightly by Thiem, so should look to defend well, though should look to continue his recent aggression and shouldn’t be afraid of long rallies. He will need to serve well against a powerful opponent, though should try to force errors out of the Austrian; he has a strong chance of winning if he does this.
This should be an extremely intriguing clash to watch, especially considering that there is a big opportunity for both following potential quarterfinal opponent Novak Djokovic’s loss. He may be the slight underdog on paper, but Goffin has played extremely well in his past two matches; it shouldn’t be a surprise at all if Thiem wins, but it looks as if the Belgian has the form and consistency to secure a big win here.
Prediction: David Goffin in four sets