Dimitrov, Goffin to play for ATP Finals title
Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov will play Belgian David Goffin in the final of the ATP Tour’s year-end tournament in London’s O2 arena on November 19.
While Dimitrov’s semi-final win over American Jack Sock (4-6, 6-0, 6-3) was not unexpected, Goffin delivered the biggest surprise of the tournament, ousting six-time champion and favourite for the title Roger Federer 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Earlier in the week, Goffin also beat world number one Rafael Nadal in three sets in the round robin, although the Spaniard appeared to be bothered by a knee injury and withdrew from the tournament after the match.
Dimitrov, meanwhile, took an early 3-0 lead against Sock in the first set, only to squander his advantage. In the second frame, he raced into the lead and this time held on to push the match into a decisive third set, where Sock saved three match points but could not stave off the inevitable.
The win will propel Dimitrov to a career-best position in the ATP rankings, where he will finish the year as third in the world, irrespective of the outcome of the final against Goffin.
But Dimitrov is likely to fancy his chances, given his 4-1 career record against the Belgian (on top of 3-0 at events on the challenger and futures circuit). The match will be the fifth time the two play against each other in 2017: Dimitrov won in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, the Sofia Open final and earlier this week in the ATP finals round robin – a forceful demolition with a matching scoreline 6-0, 6-2 – while Goffin’s only success came in Rotterdam.
Either way, the final will produce a first-time winner for ATP’s year-end showcase event, whether it is Dimitrov who is making his debut in the ATP Finals, or Goffin, who played one match as an alternate in 2016 and made his debut as an outright qualifier this year.
(Dimitrov has already won one final against Goffin this year, on home soil in Sofia in February. Screengrab from Bulgarian National Television.)