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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, February 28, 2021


No. 2-seeded David Goffin fought off top-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in the Montpellier final to capture his fifth career title.

Photo credit: Open Sud de France Facebook

David Goffin summoned a shotmaking spree to unleash a golden celebratory shower.

A fierce Goffin fought off Roberto Bautista Agut 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in the Montpellier final to capture his fifth career title.

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Gold confetti rained down on Goffin during the trophy presentation in celebration of his first ATP title since he won the 2017 Shenzhen.

The 30-year-old Belgian beat Bautista Agut for the fourth straight time in six meetings.

"A final, it’s always different," said Goffin, who improved to 5-9 in finals. "You have to just go for it. You made already a good week, you played the final. It’s the last match of the week so you have to give everything to try to win the trophy.

"Otherwise it’s tough to win a tournament. I think I did it. I raised my level. I’m really happy at the end because it was a tough moment, tough weeks, last season. I’m happy I’m back with a level like this."

Aggressive court positioning and a stinging serve sparked Goffin's fight-back to his first title in four years. Goffin pumped 13 aces and saved four of six break points, including erasing three break points confirming his opening break of the final set. 

"He played really well the whole week and I always know against Roberto a very tough opponent one of the biggest fighters and one of the best players in the world especially in the final," Goffin said. "I had to play my best tennis and I think it was the case from the end of the first set.

"I came back at 5-all. I knew it would be there and that was the case. He played better at the end of the first set and then I started to play well from the start of the second. I had to give everything that was my only chance today."

For the first time in tournament history the top two seeds squared off in the Montpellier final and the second-seeded Goffin stepped up his aggression at the right times during the final two sets.

"I think he played today very good tennis," Bautista Agut said. "I fought, but it was not enough and I’m very happy for him to win the title."

Tennis Express

Three games into the match, a proactive Goffin cut off a backhand volley for the first break point. Bautista Agut saved it sparking a run of seven straight points.

The top-seed broke at love for 3-1 when the Belgian’s backhand down the line strayed wide of the sideline.

Apart from his standard exhale of exertion when striking shots, the Spaniard was silent and sharp. Bautista Agut stamped his third love game stretching his lead to 5-2.

The Belgian bolted his third ace capping a love hold in the eighth game and forcing Bautista Agut to serve out the set.

Tightening up, the top seed hit a double fault and missed a pair of running forehands to face double break point. Goffin again belted an inside-in forehand forcing another floating reply to break back for 4-5.

Playing with more aggression and striking down the line with confidence, Goffin slashed his fourth ace to level after 10 games.

Still, Bautista Agut stayed the course and withstood the uprising.

Serving at 5-6, Goffin could not find his first serve. A double fault and crunching forehand gave the Spaniard two set points.

A crackling crosscourt rally erupted on the second set point with the Spaniard stinging a series of forehands to draw the netted error. Bautista Agut bellowed a loud “Vamos!” snatching the 49-minute opener.

Shaking off the first set stumble, Goffin unleashed some brilliant ball striking bending a backhand winner down the line breaking at love to open the second set.

Though he’s not a massive server on this day, Goffin showed a knack for firing the game-ending ace holding for 4-2.

Snapping off his 10th and 11th aces in succession, Goffin served out the second set at love to force a decider in his 14th career final.

Blue kinesiology tape snaked around Goffin’s right knee, but the Belgian was moving beautifully beating Bautista Agut to the ball and enjoying success driving his backhand down the line. Goffin leaked a pair of forehand errors from Bautista Agut starting the final set—as he had the second—with the opening break.

Fending off three break points in the following game, Goffin intercepted a drive on the rise and rapped a forehand down the line off the sideline confirming the break with a flashy strike.

Every time Bautista Agut made a push, Goffin snuffed it out.

Spinning an inside-in forehand approach, Goffin streaked forward and blocked a high forehand breaking again for 5-2.

On championship point, Goffin slid a backhand down the line and thrust his arms in the air wrapping a resilient 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 win in two hours, five minutes.

"Of course it’s never easy to win tournaments," Goffin said. "This is my fifth. Every tournament that I won was very special. I had some opportunities I had matches that I had zero chance to win in the final, but sometimes you take it sometimes not.

"You need to continue, you need to improve your game, you need to fight and I’m happy it pays off to the end."


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