Tennis - ATP World Tour Finals - The O2 Arena, London, Britain - November 19, 2017 Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Belgium's David Goffin REUTERS/Toby Melville
LONDON– 19 November 2017: Grigor Dimitrov claimed the biggest title of his career and sent out a huge statement of intent as the stylish Bulgarian beat David Goffin 7-5 4-6 6-3 to win the ATP Finals on Sunday.
The 26-year-old recovered from losing his opening two service games to finally get the better of the willowy Belgian player, but it was fiercely-fought two-and-a-half hour duel with Goffin saving four match points before finally succumbing.
Both finalists were first-time qualifiers for the tournament and while many ticket holders might have booked them in anticipation of watching Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, the two newcomers provided a fitting end to the ATP season.
Goffin managed only two games against Dimitrov when they met on Wednesday in group play, but the world number eight, who claimed a rare double of beating both Nadal and Federer this week, was a different proposition this time.
He was the better player early on, using his pinpoint accuracy to keep Dimitrov under control.
But a double-fault at 4-3, 30-30 opened the door for Dimitrov to break back for a second time and he converted as Goffin sent a forehand long.
Dimitrov, who had a 100 percent record in the group matches, asserted himself at the business end of the set and piled on the pressure when Goffin served at 5-6.
Goffin saved four set points, two with forehand winners, but double-faulted on a game point of his own before Dimitrov forced an error to wrap up the opener.
Goffin took the second set with a single break of serve and had chances at the start of the third set.
Yet Dimitrov broke for a 4-2 lead and although Goffin saved three match points at 5-2 down to keep the game alive and rescued another on the Bulgarian's serve, he finally deposited an easy volley into the net on the fifth match point.