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Highlights of Nitto ATP Finals: David Goffin and Grigor Dimitrov

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Citi Open Tennis 2017

Citi Open Tennis 2017

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Citi Open Tennis 2017

Luka Dragoljic, Reporter

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David Goffin Beats the Swiss Legend and Moves on the Final

After he reached the Nitto ATP Finals semi-finals, the Belgian was asked what he would have to do to beat Roger Federer for the first time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Goffin had been 0-6 against the Swiss, including a 6-1, 6-2 loss in the semi-finals of the Swiss Indoors Basel last month.
“Honestly, I don’t know what to do tomorrow,” Goffin said.
The Belgian did some quick thinking. Goffin shocked Federer on Saturday, coming back from a set down to eliminate the second seed and pick up his first win against Federer, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Goffin, who qualified for the season finale for the first time, will play for the biggest title of his career on Sunday. The Belgian has won four ATP World Tour crowns, including an ATP World Tour 500-level title at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2017 last month.
But the 26-year-old had never reached a bigger title match, either at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, a Grand Slam or the Nitto ATP Finals. On Sunday, Goffin will meet Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Jack Sock of the United States 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.
“For the first time I played my best tennis, and I played a little bit more relaxed after the first set. I started to feel the ball really well for the first time, and continued to serve and played my best tennis today,” Goffin said.
The Belgian hinted that he might have a preference as to who he faces on the final day of the 2017 season. The seventh seed faced Dimitrov in Group Pete Sampras play and fell 6-0, 6-2.
“If you watched some matches this week, you know the answer,” Goffin said, smiling.

Grigor Dimitrov Having the Time of his Life

Grigor Dimitrov might be playing the best tennis of his career. The Bulgarian remained unbeaten at the Nitto ATP Finals on Saturday night, converting his fourth match point to advance past American Jack Sock 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 at The O2 Arena.
Dimitrov improved to 4-0 in London this week to reach the Nitto ATP Finals title match, his fifth final of the season and the biggest of his career.
Waiting for him will be seventh seed David Goffin, who upset six-time former champion Roger Federer 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 earlier on Saturday. Dimitrov beat Goffin just a few day ago with a score of 6-2 6-0, so a fascinating match awaits us all.
“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 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.”
“The goal was to finish the year Top 10. Now I finished 3,” Dimitrov said. “It’s wonderful, a wonderful reward. This is what I’ve been working for… It’s not only good for me, I think for the whole team. I think that gives us a very good platform to start in the off-season, to have a good start of next year.”
But Sock hung around, as he had done by winning the Rolex Paris Masters to qualify for his first season finale. The American saved four match points – and even had two break points – before Dimitrov clinched the win when Sock netted a forehand.
“Sometimes not only do you have to fight yourself mentally, but you also need to fight the demons from previous matches or your opponent,” Dimitrov said. “But I was very happy with the way I handled the pressure. Even though I was down a break point, even if I had to play an extra game or games, I had to accept it. I think, regardless, you learn from those moments. I certainly learned from that experience.”
Sock, who reached the semi-finals on his debut, will finish the season at a career-high of No. 8 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
“I thought he really stepped up his level in the second and third. Came up with some pretty crazy shots in the third set at some inopportune [times] for myself,” Sock said. “There’s a reason he’s been playing this consistently all year. That’s the reason he’s in the final.”

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

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Highlights of Nitto ATP Finals: David Goffin and Grigor Dimitrov