Although the score suggests a comfortable win for Nadal, Goffin’s momentum was halted by a controversial decision by chair umpire Cedric Mourier in the sixth game. Goffin was asked to replay game point after holding his serve for what would have been a 4-2 lead.
“All of a sudden you have a mistake like the chair umpire did, it’s really tough,” Goffin said. “When you have a mistake like this, you have to give more energy again to come back into the game. It was maybe too much.”
“He just showed me something, I don’t know what,” Goffin said. “I saw on his face that he was nervous, he wasn’t sure.”
Nadal’s celebrations were muted after he clinched victory on his third match point and he sympathetically hugged Goffin at the net. Nadal shook Mourier’s hand, but Goffin did not and walked straight past him to pick up his bags.
Nadal is through to his fourth final of the season. He lost the other three, two of them to Roger Federer, including at the Australian Open.
“I know that I had to defend almost all my points at this beginning of the season,” Nadal said. “Having all these great results I am having allows me to still have the position in the top eight of the rankings.”
“Well, I think it’s that one,” Mourier says, leaning forward and pointing centrally.
“No, you can’t say that, it’s completely over here,” Goffin replies raising his voice, pointing again.
“Well, listen, then I’m wrong but …”
“Oh, it can’t be true!” says an exasperated Goffin, putting his hands on his head.
Video replays showed it was out, but with no Hawkeye technology used on clay, the Belgian player could not challenge the initial call. Still, the umpire effectively overruled a line judge in a far better position than him.
“He was play-acting, like he had made the right decision,” Goffin said. “(But) it was blatant.”
“I receive huge support from the crowd all around the world. Today, I don’t know why,” Nadal said. “For me (it) is sad, especially in a place that I love.”
Nadal, a nine-time French Open champion, is not convinced of Hawkeye’s accuracy and doesn’t want it on clay.
“If we made that happen, then Hawkeye will be in trouble,” he said.
Earlier, Pouille was 3-0 down in the deciding set when he needed treatment to his lower back and hips. His power went after that.
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