Dimitrov Outlasts Goffin To Take World Tour Finals

Grigor Dimitrov claims the 2017 ATP World Tour Finals with a 7-5 4-6 6-3 victory over David Goffin

Grigor Dimitrov lines up a backhand
Grigor Dimitrov lines up a backhand at the 2016 Toronto Masters |Marianne Bevis

By Stephen Higgins | 20 November 2017

The 2017 ATP season has been both a trip back in time, displayed by the dominance of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and an introduction to the game’s future as Alex Zverev and Dominic Thiem filled many of the gaps left by Messrs Djokovic, Murray and Wawrinka.

On Sunday evening, we heard a cry from the inbetweeners as Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin contested the final of the ATP’s year-end showpiece, the World Tour Finals at London’s 02 Arena.

After two-and-a-half hours of punishing forehands from the Bulgarian, laser-like backhands from the Belgian, and spectacular athleticism from both, it was Dimitrov who ended up the victor with a score of 7-5 4-6 6-3.

This year’s Cincinnati Masters was the biggest title of the 26-year-old’s career before he dismantled the field in London with five wins from five.

Dimitrov finished top of Group Pete Sampras ahead of Goffin, Dominic Thiem and Pablo Carrena Busta. The Spaniard was a late replacement for Nadal after the Majorcan withdrew from the competition after his opening loss to Goffin.

In the semi-finals, Dimitrov recovered from a set down to knock out surprise World Tour finalist Jack Sock 4-6 6-0 6-3.

Goffin finished second to Dimitrov in the pool with two victories from three matches. The Belgian shocked spectators when he defeated Roland Garros and US Open champion Nadal 7-6 6-7 6-4 in the first match and followed that up with a bad loss to Dimitrov (0-6 2-6), and a fine win over Dominic Thiem (6-4 6-1).

In the last four, the 26-year-old met the sternest indoor challenge in the men’s game and someone who he had never beaten before, Roger Federer. The Swiss was naturally expected to progress but Goffin maneuvered his way through in three sets (2-6 6-3 6-4) to reach the biggest final of his career.

The final gave Dimitrov the opportunity the chance to face a player he had beaten four times before, including that one-sided bout in this year’s pool stage.

The first set of the final was riddled with service breaks as both players found themselves on the wrong side of the winners-to-unforced-errors balance.

After holding his serve to make it 6-5, Dimitrov hustled from the baseline and tested the Belgian on the majority of points. Goffin could not hold, undone by too many second serves and a last under hit forehand that nestled halfway up the net.

Levels increased and the second set was a wonderful spectacle. It showcased the supreme technical and athletic abilities of both men and there was a healthy dash of improvisation.

It went to serve until the seventh game when the Belgian dialled his aggression up to 11 and broke the Bulgarian with some thunderous forehands. Goffin served it out to love to take the match to a decider.

In the final set, Dimitrov managed to stave off a number of punishing forehands in the first game, escaping with his serve intact after 11-minutes of action.

Both players held serve through a series of entertaining games until the sixth, when Dimitrov, backed by raucous Bulgarian supporters, punched through Goffin’s delivery with some fierce forehands.

Dimitrov held on against the spirited Belgian and eventually closed out the contest on his fifth match point. Goffin, determined to the end, netted a volley to send Dimitrov to the mat in tears of joy, a baby Fed no longer.

As winner, Dimitrov collected the biggest title of his career, $2.5 million and 1,500 ATP points for his efforts, pushing him to no.3 in the ATP rankings. Goffin earned $1.158 million, 800 ranking points and a career high place of no.7 in the ATP standings.