Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov to Face Belgian David Goffin For The Nitto ATP Finals • Tennis At 02 Arena In London By Richard Pagliaro

Written by: on 18th November 2017
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Grigor Dimitrov
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov to Face Belgian David Goffin For The Nitto ATP Finals • Tennis At 02 Arena In London By Richard Pagliaro   |

LONDON—Grigor Dimitrov withstood a tough test from his personal nightmare to continue his dream run at the Nitto ATP Finals.

 

A determined Dimitrov converted his fourth match point rallying past Jack Sock, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, into the final at the O2 Arena.

 

Timely strikes down the line and dynamic net play helped Dimitrov subdue Sock for the first time since 2014. Dimitrov, who won 11 of 16 net points, will rise to a career-high rank of No. 3.

 

The first Bulgarian qualifier in the 48-year-history of the season-ending tournament will play David Goffin in tomorrow’s final.

 

The seventh-seeded Goffin shocked Roger Federer, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, snapping the Swiss’ 13-match winning streak and scoring his first career victory over his boyhood hero.

 

Dimitrov remains undefeated in his ATP Finals debut and arrives in the final as a firm favorite over Goffin after blasting the Belgian, 6-0, 6-2, in round-robin play on Wednesday.

 

The 26-year-old Bulgarian leads their head-to-head series 4-1, including winning three of their four meetings this year.


Goffin had dropped 14 of 16 sets against Federer before turning the tide in stunning fashion today and is aiming for another reversal of fortune against Dimitrov.

 

“It will be something different hopefully,” Goffin said.  “There will be another issue for me.  It’s another match.  I have the chance to play another match, if it’s Grigor, against him.  I hope to play the tennis I played today.  I’ll try to be more aggressive, also go for the shot, and yeah, go for the trophy.

 

“We will see.  I will try something different than in the group.  But it won’t be difficult to do better than on Wednesday.”

 

Sock had won three of four meetings with Dimitrov, including fending off four match points in a pulsating 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7) victory at Indian Wells en route to his first Masters 1000 semifinal.  

 

In tonight’s rematch, Sock dug himself holes with slow starts in each set and produced a sloppy second set, dropping seven straight games in one stretch.

 

 Playing catch-up throughout the final set, Sock earned a pair of break points in the last game, but could not convert.

 

“Not too close when you win three games in two sets,” said Sock, who entered his post-match presser five minutes after the final ball wearing a Kansas Chiefs ski cap. “I mean, had a pretty poor start to each set.  Got down a break in the first.  Was able to get it back. Didn’t win a game in the second.  Had some looks early in the third.”

 

Bursting out of the blocks with a 3-0 lead, Dimitrov had a break-point chance to go up 4-0. Sock saved it then slammed successive aces to hold. That sparked a run that saw Sock reel off six of the next seven games.

 

Dimitrov, who betrayed his cause with four double faults in the set, put a backhand into net as Sock built a one-set lead after 46 minutes.

 

The explosive American is capable of dominating matches with his heavy forehand, but Sock is also prone to mental walkabouts.

 

 

For the second straight match, a disinterested Sock relinquished a lopsided second set. The Paris Masters champion won just five of 17 points played on his serve surrendering the second set at love.  

 

 

Following a Sock bathroom break, Dimitrov denied a break point holding for his seventh straight game to start the decider.

 

A full-stretch running forehand from Dimitrov extended the point then he scraped his racquet off the court deadening a forehand drop volley that a skidding Sock could not quite reach holding for 3-2.

 

“When you play a guy, a player of that caliber, you can’t give him that many opportunities, that many free points,” Sock said. “He took advantage today.  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 for myself.

 

“Yeah, he stepped up his level for sure.  There’s a reason he’s been playing this consistently all year. That’s the reason he’s in the final.”

 

 

Tension tightened Sock’s right arm as he spit up a pair of double faults in the eighth game. Dimitrov stung a running forehand down the line breaking for 5-3.

 

Dimitrov’s moment of truth came in the nine-minute final game as Sock saved three match points and Dimitrov denied two break points. Sock netted a pair of forehands to end it.

 

Cincinnati Masters champion Dimitrov is aiming for his fourth final of the season and will finish the season with a career-high rank of No. 3 regardless of tomorrow’s result.

 

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