Sunday 25 August 2019

ATP Finals debut a dream for Dimitrov

 

Grigor Dimitrov celebrates. Photo: Getty Images
Grigor Dimitrov celebrates. Photo: Getty Images

Grigor Dimitrov became the first ATP Finals debutant since Alex Corretja in 1998 to lift the trophy and it was the first time in the competition's 47-year history that two first-timers had made the final.

After his 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over David Goffin in London he dropped face down, flat on the court before embracing his team and coach Daniel Vallverdu, who was once in charge of a young Andy Murray.

"It has been a tremendous two weeks for me," Dimitrov said. "It's such an honour to play here. This week has been one of the best I've ever had."

Both aged 26, Dimitrov and Goffin are hardly fledglings, but there is still time for each to enjoy greater success at major events. Goffin has never gone further than the last eight at a grand slam, while Dimitrov's best is two semi-finals.

Dimitrov, in particular, looks now to be a leading contender behind Nadal and Federer, and he will rise to World No 3 when the rankings update.

He also pockets the champion's cheque for $1.2m to take his total haul for the week to $2,549,000.

Goffin saw off both Nadal, who was hampered by injury, and Federer en route to the final.

The Belgian will now head into next week's Davis Cup final against France brimming with confidence.

David Beckham and Patrick Stewart were among a 17,800 capacity crowd who were treated to another pulsating encounter in keeping with this year's high-quality matches.

For all the star absentees - including Murray, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and, from day two onwards, Nadal - 11 of the 15 singles matches went to deciding sets.

Goffin's 6-0 6-2 group-stage loss to Dimitrov was one of the few lopsided affairs, but he had more games on the board after 19 minutes here than in the entirety of that encounter.

Irish Independent

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