Grigor Dimitrov outlasts David Goffin in title thriller

Special moment
Dimitrov holds aloft
the ATP
Finals trophy

Not only does his opponent Grigor Dimitrov lead the head to head between the two players 4-1, but he hammered Goffin 6-0, 6-2 just four days ago in the tournament's Round Robin stage.

Dimitrov, 26, has enjoyed the best season of his career, claiming his first Masters title in Cincinnati and winning two other titles as well as reaching the Australian Open semi-finals.

Goffin, who became just the sixth player in history to beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the same tournament, forced his opponent back in the opening game and broke in stunning fashion with a scintillating forehand victor.

"I'm just pretty relaxed right now".

Roger Federer said earlier in the tournament that "Baby Fed" Dimitrov has become more comfortable in his own skin and calmer about his place in the men's game this year. "It's the only game maybe I didn't serve well". I knew that David is going to try something new.

Sock now stands between Dimitrov and a place in the final but, with Dominic Thiem the only player to win more than two games against the world number six so far in the tournament, the American will need to produce his best to knock him out.

Yet rewind two years and he was struggling to play three good points in a row, let alone challenge for big titles.

"There is - how can I say - not the old generation, but the generation of Federer, he's nearly 10 years older than me", Goffin said.

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In the second set, neither player earned a break point until the sixth game, when Goffin saved himself with a dramatic backhand crosscourt shot that caught the sideline.

Dimitrov had to wait until the eighth game to break back for a second time and a tight set then ended with a fiercely fought battle, the Bulgarian converting his fifth set point on the Goffin serve to prevent a tie-break.

Only the US Open offered more than $3m to its victor this year.

There still seemed plenty of time for 19-time Grand Slam champion Federer to re-assert his authority but Goffin stayed cool and his moment of truth arrived at 5-4 when he stepped up to serve for the biggest win of his career.

Dimitrov was already sure of top spot in Group Pete Sampras and a semi-final with Jack Sock, but did not take his foot off the gas against Rafael Nadal's replacement at the season-ending showpiece.

"I was a little bit exhausted in the third", Goffin said. At 3-0 in the second set, Goffin was digging his heels into the game.

"But whatever happened today is less important than if I look at the entire season. This has always been, again, a dream of mine".

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