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Tennis • 10sBalls Countdown • Ricky’s Best ATP Matches Of 2017: No. 7 Is Dimitrov vs. Goffin In London

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov (back) reacts after defeating Belgium’s David Goffin (front) in their singles final match at the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London, Britain, 19 November 2017. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA



Ricky’s best ATP matches of 2017: No. 7 is Dimitrov vs. Goffin in London


By Ricky Dimon

Over the next week, Ricky is counting down his top 10 men’s matches of the year, in order from No. 10 all the way down to No. 1. It continues at No. 7 with the last ATP match of the season, in which Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin battled in a surprising final matchup at the year-end championship in London.


London final: Grigor Dimitrov d. David Goffin 7-5, 4-6, 6-3

With a round-robin defeat of world No. 1 Rafael Nadal and a semifinal shocker over Nitto ATP Finals favorite Roger Federer, Goffin became the sixth player in history to beat both Nadal and Federer at the same event. Although the Belgian did not have quite enough left in his tank to leave London with the title, he certainly did his part to make the championship match against Dimitrov extremely competitive.


No man had ever beaten Nadal and Federer in the same tournament and not captured the title, but such was Goffin’s fate. He came close, but a red-hot Dimitrov got the best of a three-set thriller that lasted two and a half hours. For the now-world No. 3, it capped off a perfect run through London in which he went 3-0 in the group state prior to three-set victories over Jack Sock and then Goffin in the semis and final, respectively.


One of Dimitrov’s Group A victories had come against Goffin via a 6-0, 6-2 blowout. The rematch only four days later was anything but a blowout.


On one side of the net was Dimitrov continuing to showcase his stellar form that had been on display throughout the entire week inside the O2 Arena. On the other side it was the Goffin who had upset Federer–not the one who had been erased by Dimitrov. The result was a totally even tilt with first two sets being split and the third coming down to hardly more than break-point conversions. Goffin earned four break points in the opening game of the decider, but Dimitrov saved all four to hold for 1-0. The Bulgarian eventually pocketed a break of his own for a 4-2 advantage.


There was still more drama to be had. Goffin recovered from a 0-40, triple championship point hole at 2-5 and held serve to put the pressure back on his opponent. Dimitrov responded, although–not surprisingly–it was not easy. Goffin saved a fourth championship point with a forehand winner before Dimitrov capitalized his fifth chance at 5-3, 40-30 when Goffin netted a backhand drop-volley at the end of a long rally.


“A lot happened in this final today,” Dimitrov reflected. “I think David deserves an unbelievable credit for this tournament; he’s done so well to beat Rafa (and) Roger. To be so successful for the first time (in London), both of us, to play on such a stage, it’s just a tremendous, tremendous effort. I’m really happy to share this final with him and I wish I could share [the trophy] with him to be honest. But, yes, there’s only one winner.”


Goffin concurred.


“I think I deserve the win today, of course,” the 5’11”, 150-pounder said. “But Grigor, also, he deserves the win. He was unbeatable this week. He played really great tennis; was really solid from the first match until the end. So he deserves completely to be here and to win the tournament. Even if I won against Rafa and Roger, I lost the final. But, anyway, it was a great week. I have no regrets after that match.”


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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