Tennis Expert & Columnist
Dominic Thiem and David Goffin set for last-four decider at ATP Finals
"It's down to whether Goffin can put that defeat to Dimitrov to one side and pick himself up, dust himself down, and think about the match wins against Thiem in the past"
Last Updated: 17/11/17 1:51pm
Annabel Croft and Barry Millns are undecided over who they think will emerge victorious from the winner-takes-all clash between Dominic Thiem and David Goffin on Friday.
Goffin had made a flying start with his dramatic three-set victory over Nadal on Monday. But that victory was slightly devalued as the world No 1, who was struggling with a knee injury, pulled out of the tournament after the match.
The Belgian suffered a devastating 6-0 6-2 loss to Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov and now faces Thiem, who beat Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3 3-6 6-4, in their final group match with a semi-final place awaiting the winner.
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It was important for Thiem to beat Carreno Busta, but I'm going to go with Goffin in three.
"This is such a tough one call. Goffin played absolutely sensational tennis against Rafael Nadal in that first match," said former British No 1, Croft. "I think everybody was mesmerised about the kind of tennis he put out on the court.
"Despite the fact that Nadal was injured, he still came up with the goods when it mattered most. There were some gasps around the arena with some of those backhands up the line - he's such a beautiful ball-striker.
"I like to watch his movement around the court. He's so light on his feet and he gets around the ball so well. He produces a lot of firepower from someone who has such a slight frame.
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"But then of course he was absolutely hammered by Dimitrov on Wednesday, so it's whether Goffin can put that defeat to one side and pick himself up, dust himself down, and think about his match wins against Thiem in the past. He has a good head to head record (6-3), so clearly there's something about his game that matches up very well against Thiem.
"It was important for Thiem to beat Carreno Busta, but I'm really, really torn with how this one is going to go to be honest. However, I'm going to go with Goffin in three."
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Commentator Millns picked Goffin in the Sky Sports' sweepstake and although he is sticking with his tip, he says "you have to wonder what is Goffin going to do next?".
"He played so well to beat Nadal, it was such a big moment for him, but maybe the aftermath of beating a world No 1 for the first time was a big deal for him and he was somewhat flat against Dimitrov, who played out of this world.
"It can only get better for Goffin again, but will it be good enough to beat Dominic Thiem? He must have taken a huge amount of confidence out of coming through a very tough match against Carreno Busta.
"Goffin has a better record against the Austrian, particularly on hardcourts, and I can't believe he's going to be as flat as he was on Wednesday. He's coming into a match where he knows he could make the semis.
"It's in the balance, and I said in three sets, but I do feel it will be a very tough fight."
The season-ending extravaganza ATP Finals ends another memorable year which will be covered via our website www.skysports.com/tennis with live blogs, reports, reaction and expert analysis as the season reaches its climax.
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