Ricky’s Preview And Pick For The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals World Tennis Championship Match • Grigor Dimitrov vs. David Goffin

Written by: on 18th November 2017
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Goffin
Belgium's David Goffin in action against Switzerland's Roger Federer during their semi final match of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London, Britain, 18 November 2017. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

Belgium's David Goffin in action against Switzerland's Roger Federer during their semi final match of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London, Britain, 18 November 2017. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL  |

By Ricky Dimon

Grigor Dimitrov must have been assuming that if he could beat Jack Sock at the Nitto ATP Finals, he would go up against the player he has emulated. Instead, he will go up against a player he has owned.

Dimitrov booked a date with David Goffin in the tour’s final match of 2017 after he outlasted Jack Sock 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 in the year-end championship semifinals on Saturday night. That was preceded by Goffin’s stunning 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 upset of Roger Federer. The result is a ninth career contest–and second of the week–between Dimitrov and Goffin, with the former dominating the head-to-head series 7-1 (4-1 at the ATP level).

They just squared three days ago during round-robin action in London, where Dimitrov rolled 6-0, 6-2.

Goffin can only hope things will be have much different look three days later. The world No. 8 can at least take heart in the fact that things were quite different from one match against Federer to the next. Three weeks before toppling the 19-time Grand Slam champion at the O2 Arena, Goffin got thrashed by Federer 6-1, 6-2 at the Swiss Indoors Basel.

Aside from his blowout loss to Dimitrov, Goffin has been outstanding this week–and this entire fall. The recent back-to-back champion in Shenzhen and Tokyo is 3-1 at these ATP Finals with wins over Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Dominic Thiem. Having bookended his tournament so far with victories over Nadal and Federer, Goffin is just the sixth player ever to beat both Nadal and Federer at the same event.

No one, however, has been better than Dimitrov this week. The Bulgarian, once billed as “Baby Fed,” is undefeated with defeats of Goffin Sock, Thiem, and Pablo Carreno Busta. He has donated sets only to Sock and Thiem, and set scores of 6-0, 6-2, 6-1, 6-1, and 6-0 have highlighted his run to the final. Dimitrov is 47-19 overall this season and will finish at No. 3 in the rankings.

“If you have watched some matches this week, you know the answer,” Goffin said when asked if he would prefer to play Dimitrov or Sock in the final. “It will be something different (from our previous match), hopefully…. I hope to play the tennis I played [on Saturday]. I’ll try to be more aggressive…. We will see. I will try something different than in [round-robin].

He also joked, “It won’t be difficult to do better than on Wednesday.”

“I wish I could just press replay,” Dimitrov responded when asked if their round-robin encounter would have any impact on Sunday’s match. “I’m sure neither one of us is going to think about that. I cannot just say one thing in particular (that makes Goffin dangerous). He had a few good wins already. Has been playing well through the end of the year. So I think he’s still got a lot of confidence. I think obviously none of us has [anything] to lose.”

Both players are exactly right. Goffin can’t possibly do any worse, and neither one has anything to lose in this unexpected final. It will be far more competitive than on Wednesday, but Dimitrov has been the best player in London from start to finish.

Pick: Dimitrov in 3

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

 

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