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Ricky’s Preview And Pick For Wednesday at the ATP World Tour Finals: Dimitrov vs. Goffin

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in action against Dominic Thiem of Austria during their round robin match of the ATP World Tour Finals in London, Britain, 13 November 2017. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA



By Ricky Dimon


Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin will be battling for Group A supremacy at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals when they face each other for the fifth time in their careers at the main-tour level on Wednesday afternoon.


They squared off in a flurry of matches earlier this year but promptly went on an eight-month drought with zero encounters. Dimitrov leads the head-to-head series 3-1 (6-1 including Futures and Challengers), with a 2-1 mark in 2017. He got the job done 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in the Aussie Open quarters and 7-5, 6-4 in the Sofia final before Goffin prevailed 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam.


Dimitrov was an amazing 16-1 in his first 17 matches of the season before running into Goffin in Rotterdam. After that, there was never much doubt that he would make his first-ever appearance in the year-end championship–certainly no doubt after top players such as Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, and Kei Nishikori started to fall away due to injuries. Dimitrov went on to bag the biggest title of his career in Cincinnati and his strong fall swing includes a runner-up performance in Stockholm.


The world No. 6 made his O2 Arena debut in style on Monday afternoon, coming through a roller-coaster affair with Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.


Goffin already had one World Tour Finals match under his belt going into Monday, as he took the court in 2016 as an alternate and got erased by Novak Djokovic 6-1, 6-2. The Belgian fared much better in his second effort, benefiting from a hobbled Rafael Nadal to upset the world No. 1 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-4. Goffin has dealt with injuries of his own this year, to the extent that each of his last three Grand Slams was negatively affected (he could not even play at Wimbledon). Still, he is 55-22 this season and both of his titles have come during the fall swing (Shenzhen and Tokyo).


“On paper it’s the best win of my career, for sure, to beat Rafa,” Goffin said following the win over Nadal. “But I saw that he was struggling a little bit with his movement on the court, and his knee was suffering a little bit. It was tough even if he was not moving 100 percent. It was not easy. It’s never easy to finish a match–to finish a set against him…. Yes, it is the best win of my career.


“I have to continue to play like that, to continue to play my game, to stay focused on what I have to do on the court. I think I was feeling the ball really well tonight. Now the next match will be tough. Every match is tough here.”


Both Goffin and Dimitrov had encountered plenty of trouble trying to close out their matches on Monday. Goffin, especially, struggled in pressure-packed moments and needed help from Nadal’s physical woes to stumble across the finish line. Given that Dimitrov has also had Goffin’s number for the most part, the Bulgarian has to be feeling good about his chances in this one.


Dimitrov would mathematically clinch a spot in the semifinals if he beats Goffin on Wednesday, and that should be the case.


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.

Editors Note: Yikes. What will David Goffin have left in his body for the Davis Cup finals? The Belgians play the FRENCH For the Davis Cup In Less Then 10 Days . His small frame body is already taped up all around his knee. And he hasnt played this battle yet.

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