By Jackie Finn
Throughout the year, we will be taking a look at players who could contend or surprise during this year’s Series. Up now: Belgian David Goffin, 25, who is coming off back-to-back semifinal showings during the U.S. spring hard-court swing in Indian Wells and Miami.
The David Goffin File
Residence: Liege, Belgium
Current Rank: 13
Career- High Rank: 13 (April 2016)
Best 2015 Series Finish: Round of 16 (Cincinnati, Montreal)
Belgium’s top talent is having a sweet start to 2016.
After an impressive 2015 – in which Goffin reached the fourth round of Wimbledon, advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal in Rome and led his country to its first Davis Cup final appearance since 1904 – the Belgian has cemented his status as a serious threat to the top of the pack with some significant performances this year.
After bowing out to Roger Federer in the fourth round of the Australian Open, Goffin surprised the tennis world with back-to-back semifinal appearances at two of the most prestigious ATP Masters 1000 tournaments – the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., and the Miami Open in Miami.
In the California desert, Goffin upset No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round, his first win over a Top 10 opponent in his last 15 tries, and defeated 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic to reach the semifinals. A three-set loss to Milos Raonic in the semifinals did not hinder his progress, as he fought his way to another semifinal at the Miami Open two weeks later. In his first-ever Miami quarterfinals appearance, Goffin rallied for a three-set victory over No. 18 Gilles Simon before falling to world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
A strong month of March on the American hard courts has propelled Goffin to his highest career ranking – No. 13 in the world – which is also the highest rank a Belgian singles player has ever achieved on the ATP World Tour.
With his excellent court coverage and sturdy baseline game, it is not hard to imagine that Goffin may be in the Top 10 by the time the 2016 Emirates Airline US Open Series rolls around, especially as the clay season approaches – a surface that has typically been his favorite. And a high seed may just set the scene for Goffin to repeat his Indian Wells-Miami showings when he returns to the North American hard courts this summer.