20 Nov 2017

Dimitrov wins ATP Finals title

11:07 am on 20 November 2017

Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov claimed the biggest title of his career and sent out a huge statement of intent by beating David Goffin in three sets to win the season ending ATP Tour Finals in London.

ATP Tennis Finals; Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) celebrates his victory after his match with David Goffin (BEL)

ATP Tennis Finals; Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) celebrates his victory after his match with David Goffin (BEL) Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 26-year-old recovered from losing his opening two service games to finally get the better of the Belgian player, but it was fiercely-fought two-and-a-half hour duel with Goffin saving four match points before finally succumbing.

Dimitrov's unbeaten run this week in London earned him 3.7 million dollars while the 1,500 ranking points have catapulted him to end an impressive year ranked third in the world -- behind only all-time greats Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

More significantly perhaps, landing the unofficial "fifth" grand slam appears to be proof that the former junior Wimbledon champion, once dubbed 'Baby Federer' because of his easy-on-the-eye style, has finally come of age.

Both finalists were first-time qualifiers for the tournament and while many ticket holders might have booked them in anticipation of watching Federer or Nadal, the two newcomers provided the end to the ATP season.

Goffin managed only two games against Dimitrov when they met earlier 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.

Meanwhile Finland's Henri Kontinen and Australian partner John Peers won the doubles title for the second year running when they beat world number one duo Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-4 6-2 on Sunday.

Kontinen and Peers lost their opening round-robin match but went on to become the first pair to win back-to-back titles at the season-ender since Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in 2003-2004.

It was the fifth title of the year for Kontinen and Peers, including their first grand slam triumph together at the Australian Open.