Coming into this encounter Goffin had yet to take a set off the Brit – nothing changed there today as Murray looked clinical in his dispatch of the Belgian. Coming into Shanghai with a win in Beijing, and playing some of his best tennis over the past few years, Murray weathered some extraordinarily long games to scoot past the in-form Belgian – himself a finalist last week in Tokyo.
The World No. 2 won four games on the spin in the first set to grab the first set, and the pair put the world at large through an agonising 15-minute game where Goffin fended off six break points, but his resistance was gone, with Murray speeding ahead to ease to a straight sets win.
Right now the race to catch Novak Djokovic and grab the World No. 1 spot still has some legs – Murray closed the gap thanks to Djokovic’s withdrawal in Beijing, but the Serbian has been holding firm this week, albeit tested in the quarter-final against Mischa Zverev, and having to come from a set down to boot.
If Murray made comment about long rallies after his encounter with Goffin, we can surely expect more of the same when he lives up once more against the Frenchman. In a battle of the counter-punchers, we will need to see the Brit disregard his go-to and step up the aggression to mix things up, as Simon can have you running all the live-long day.
Where Murray has worked hard to get free points off his serve, and tackled his second serve in particular, Simon makes up for the lack of weight on his own serve and groundstrokes by relying on his use of angles, changing direction and taking pace off the ball to keep it in play.
In the past their matches have been patient, if not passive slug-fests, but when Murray does inject a bit of aggression and point-quickening into his game, combined with his movement around the court and feel at the net, he has been too much of a match for the Frenchman.
Simon has been able to more comfortably take Murray the distance on clay, but he has managed to pull Murray into a three setter a couple of times on hard courts, in their 16 previous meetings. But on the form Murray has been showing, even despite Simon’s upset of Stan Wawrinka earlier, the Brit should be too much for him, as he closes in on a showdown with Djokovic – in every sense of the word.
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