Resurgent Goffin passes Tiafoe test

Former top 10 star returns to the Roland-Garros third round for the first time since 2019

David Goffin, Roland Garros 2022, second round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT
 - Alex Sharp

A decade on from his dream debut at Roland-Garros, David Goffin booked a third-round ticket in Paris for the first time since 2019.

The Belgian battled back 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-2, 6-4 against the gregarious Frances Tiafoe on Thursday.

The former world No.7 heads into the last 32 to meet 12th seed Hubert Hurkacz, who saw off 2018 semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato in straight sets.

Story of the match

The first game of the match set the tone for an entertaining encounter. Tiafoe jokingly ushering a Goffin shot long with his hands to curtail a top-drawer rally.

The Belgian scorched a forehand pass down the line, before Tiafoe rattled through some quick-fire points to head to the chair serenaded by a chorus of “walking in a Tiafoe wonderland” that echoed around the glorious greenhouse engulfing Court Simonne-Mathieu.

Stepping in and going full-tilt with corner-to-corner placement, world No.27 Tiafoe raced 3-1 ahead. The 24-year-old chalked up the opener just after with a smooth backhand drop shot.

Goffin was delivering tennis reminiscent of his three-set epic with Rafael Nadal in Madrid from earlier this month, where the Belgian had four match points erased in the enthralling decisive tiebreak.

He seized the second-set initiative against Tiafoe courtesy of some first-strike tennis.

Tiafoe, a finalist in Estoril in the build-up to Roland-Garros, hauled the experienced 31-year-old into the tiebreak. However, Goffin clicked up a couple of gears, surrendering just one point to level up. 

The American was digging deep, fending off three break points in a mammoth 11-minute hold to start the third set. That served as a warning sign as Goffin’s efficiency and anticipation enabled the Belgian to soar a set in front.

Goffin’s clay-court IQ was telling, securing the pivotal break at 4-4 to close out a memorable win for the world No.48.

David Goffin, Roland Garros 2022, second round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Key stats

Goffin is an expert at the transition play, advancing up the court to end points.

The Belgian managed to apply the pressure with 17/24 success rate at the net.

In contrast, with Tiafoe charging the net, Goffin’s accuracy was exceptional with 21 passing shot winners.

What the winner said

"It feels really great, because it was a tough battle, especially when you lose the first set, when you have to turn it around. That was the case, so it was a tough one. Physically was not easy, even if I was feeling great. At the end it's good that I managed to finish in four," said Goffin.

"But it was a great match, great match, great intensity. I'm very happy to be in third round again. Means a lot, of course. Like I said, I'm playing well for the moment. I'm feeling great. Physically, mentally, my tennis is there.

"So being in third round, it's not a surprise, I would say, if you see the last few weeks and months, but inside it is a small surprise. But I knew that I was able to do it again and it was a goal to go back to my best tennis. That's almost the case for the moment. So I'm very happy. I will try to continue and play another good match in the next round."