Fixture: David Goffin vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert
Tournament: Antalya Open 2021
Round: First round (Round of 32)
Venue: Antalya, Turkey
Category: WTA 250
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: €300,000
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
David Goffin vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert preview
World No. 16 David Goffin will kickstart his 2021 season at the Antalya Open in Turkey. The Belgian will square off against his close friend Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round.
Interestingly, Herbert and Goffin are also doubles partners at this event.
The Antalya Open is an ATP 250 event that marks the start of the 2021 ATP Calendar, along with the Delray Beach Open in Florida. This is the first time that the Turkish event will be played on hardcourt; it was previously a grasscourt tournament, with its last edition taking place in 2019.
David Goffin comes into Antalya as the second seed, and one of the headliners alongside Matteo Berrettini. The 30-year-old will be hoping to begin his 2021 campaign strongly, so that he can shake off his miserable 2020.
Goffin ended last season with five consecutive defeats, out of which only one was against a top 30 opponent (Denis Shapovalov). Norbert Gombos, Marin Cilic, Jannik Sinner and Marcos Giron all got the better of the Belgian as he failed to cope with the after-effects of COVID-19.
Helping Goffin find his footing will be new coach Germain Gigounon. The Belgian split with his previous coach Thomas Johansson towards the end of last season.
Much like Goffin, Pierre-Hugues Herbert also had a tumultuous 2020 season. The Frenchman, who is more renowned for his exploits as a doubles player, made the quarterfinals at only two events last year (Montpellier and Doha).
Herbert begins this season with a ranking of No. 83, and it will be interesting to see if he can climb up the charts.
The 29-year-old finished 2020 on a disappointing note, suffering early losses at the Vienna Open and the Paris Masters. The former of those defeats was especially shocking as it came against 453-ranked Vitaliy Sachko.
David Goffin vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert head-to-head
David Goffin leads Pierre-Hugues Herbert 5-0 in the head-to-head matchups. They have played each other four times on hardcourt, with Herbert coming closest to defeating Goffin at last year’s Australian Open.
The Belgian led by two sets to love but was taken to a decider, in which he ultimately prevailed.
David Goffin vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert prediction
It will be interesting to see what form David Goffin and Pierre-Hugues Herbert bring into this season. Needless to say, they will both be looking to start with a clean slate.
Goffin will be relying on his quick-strike shot-making, especially his glorious backhand, that is sure to test Herbert's defense. The Frenchman on his part will be hoping that his first serve helps put Goffin on the backfoot.
On paper, the Belgian is the clear favorite due to his superior record. However, Herbert has been testing his friend a lot more in their recent encounters, and he could make this match an exciting one.
Prediction: David Goffin to win in three sets.Published 06 Jan 2021, 17:23 IST