There will be a first time winner of the ATP Finals on Sunday night after Roger Federer failed to advance from his semi final match up. The Swiss was the heavy odds on favourite to do so but it will infact be one of Grigor Dimitrov or David Goffin that are victorious.
Dimitrov has been in great form and his semi final win over Jack Sock ensured he was on course to go 5-0, picking up 1500 ranking points and prize money of $2,549,000 overall. His year end ranking spot of 3 is already guaranteed, putting him in a better spot for Australia in January. Dimitrov looked like he would carry on where he left off in the group stages after rushing to a 3-0 40-30 lead but Sock made a fight of it and would actually recover to win the first set. A 6-0 set evened things up and gave Dimitrov the benefit of serving first in the decider. This worked well for him with pressure finally telling at 4-3 up, getting the key break before finally serving the match out. “The goal was to finish the year Top 10. Now I finished 3,” Dimitrov said on his great season. “It’s wonderful, a wonderful reward. This is what I’ve been working for.”
Goffin looked like he was coasting towards a seventh straight loss against his idol Roger Federer, beginning the match by losing 5 of the first 6 games. The match was getting away from him quickly but an early break in the second turned things around as Federer began to struggle to get into Goffin’s return games. He won just 15 points on return in the final two sets, going 0/2 on break point chances. The second came at 2-1 in the decider after Goffin had just broke – it was unconverted and that was it for Federer’s chances as he offered little threat in the next 3 return games, winning just 1 point.
The 2-6 6-3 6-4 win for Goffin should be a major confidence boost for a player who has struggled to mix it with the elite prior to this week. “I think his confidence is going to be up there. But I’m not going to focus in on his confidence or his game right now. I’m just focusing on myself, the recovery that I’m going to do today,” Dimitrov said of his opponent. “Of course, it’s not going to be the same after I played against him… I think also it’s a different stage for both of us.”
Dimitrov wiped Goffin off the court in their match during Group Pete Sampras play, winning 0 and 2. While there would have been some fatigue for a physically and mentally draining win over Rafael Nadal earlier in the week, it seems unlikely for Goffin to be able to find something to turn things around against the Bulgarian this time.
Prediction: Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets