Tennis-Goffin outlasts Tiafoe to set up last-eight date with local hope Norrie


Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 3, 2022 Belgium's David Goffin celebrates winning his fourth round match against Frances Tiafoe of the U.S. REUTERS/Paul Childs

LONDON (Reuters) - Belgian David Goffin edged American 23rd seed Frances Tiafoe in a five-set thriller on Sunday to match his 2019 quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon when he last played in the Grand Slam.

The former world number seven fell to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in 2019 but after a injury-hit last season on Tour has returned to the last eight stage again to match his best performance at the majors.

Now ranked 58th, Goffin will next meet local hope Cameron Norrie for a place in Friday's semi-finals after holding his nerve to outlast Tiafoe 7-6(3) 5-7 5-7 6-4 7-5 in an absorbing contest on court one that lasted four hours 36 minutes.

"It means a lot. For me, it's almost like a back-to-back quarter-finals because I didn't play last year," the 31-year-old Goffin told reporters.

"I was very excited to come back here because it's a very important tournament for me, because it's probably my favourite tournament of the year, place that I love, surface that I can play really well. I had some great results on that surface."

Goffin came into the fourth-round contest against the 28th-ranked Tiafoe with a 4-1 head-to-head advantage -- the last of them in the second round of Roland Garros this year when the Belgian won in four sets.

Both players broke each other's serve six times on Sunday during the topsy-turvy contest with the 31-year-old Goffin doing better on the unforced errors count than his opponent.

Goffin got the decisive break in the 12th game of the fifth set to seal the fate of the match.

"It's always tough when you played almost four hours already and you have to play a fifth set. It's not easy," Goffin said.

"At the end I took my chance. I was aggressive with the return. Very happy to win that one. It was a tough one, very tough one."

A quarter-final match-up against Briton Norrie, who also beat an American in Tommy Paul but in straight sets, would mean Goffin in all probability will be put on Centre Court next.

"I have another opportunity to play on Centre Court to try to have a win, finally to have a win on Centre Court," he said, while praising Norrie's consistency throughout the tournament.

"But I will try to recover. That's the most important now, today and tomorrow, try to be ready to play against the whole country."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Ken Ferris)

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