World No 174 David Goffin dumps former champion Xavier Malisse 4-3, 6-2, 6-3 in opening round
Little David Goffin pulled off a stunning 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win against fellow-Belgian and former champion Xavier Malisse, seeded seventh, to advance to the second round of the Chennai Open tennis tournament yesterday. Earlier, qualifier Yuichi Sugita, the journeyman from Japan, knocked out eighth seeded Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-3, 6-4 in another first round match to record his biggest career win.
Stunner: David Goffin returns to Xavier Malisse. Pic/AFP
The all-Belgian one hour, 53-minute match was literally a David vs Goliath contest. Goffin, standing a mere five feet, four inches in his socks, and ranked a distant 174, outslugged a fast tiring six-footer Malisse, the Belgian No 1, who went through the motions in the third set.
The 49th ranked Malisse, winner here on 2007, started off well by pouching the first set with a break of serve in the fifth game, but Goffin, a battler that he is, came surging back to take the second on two back-to-back breaks before running out an easy winner in the decider where Malisse, appearing rather unwell, dropped serve in the sixth. "I think he was sick, may be something he ate last night. But I focussed on my game, because I know that even if Malisse is not well, he can still hit the ball pretty hard. It is nice to have beaten him," said Goffin.
Meanwhile, Eduoard Roger-Vasselin who had made it to the main draw as a replacement for the injured Devvarman after losing his final qualifying round to Japan's Go Soeda, beat fellow-Frenchman Eric Prodon 6-4, 6-3. Another impressive winner of the evening was Taipei's Yen-Hsun Lu who put out qualifier Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-3, to join German Andreas Beck in the second round. Beck survived a tough second set tie-break to get past qualifier Vasek Pospisil of Canada 6-3, 7-6 (8).