Grigor Dimitrov vs. David Goffin
After his win over Roger Federer in London on Saturday, Goffin was asked which of the other two semifinalists he would prefer to meet in the final on Sunday, Dimitrov or Jack Sock. Goffin smiled and said that anyone who had been watching the tournament over the last week should have a pretty good idea what the answer was.
That’s because Goffin had already faced Dimitrov during the round-robin portion of the event on Wednesday, and...it hadn’t gone well. His 6-0, 6-2 defeat was one of the most one-sided of Goffin’s career. While Dimitrov showed off all of his varied skills, Goffin seemed to sleepwalk through the match. At the time, many assumed that he had suffered a massive letdown after recording the biggest win of his life, over Rafael Nadal, two nights earlier.
Now Goffin has recorded an even bigger win. His victory over Federer was one of the surprises of the 2017 season—it was Goffin’s first in seven tries, and it stopped Federer’s 13-match win streak.
Can he avoid another sleepwalk in the follow-up? He can’t afford to be anything but his best. Dimitrov’s surprising domination of Goffin is not a new thing. At the ATP level, the Bulgarian is 4-1 against the Belgian (3-1 this season), and he won all three of their earlier matches at the Challenger and Futures levels.
Goffin has had the breakthrough week, with his wins over Federer and Nadal, but Dimitrov is 4-0 in London, and his gritty final hold to close out Jack Sock in the semis should give him some confidence that he can overcome his nerves when it matters in the final. Still, this is the biggest final of both men’s careers, which means we don’t know what we’re going to get from either of them. It may not be the season-ending blockbuster that the tournament hoped to see, but Dimitrov and Goffin, two of the smoothest hitters in the sport, should give tennis fans a match they’ll enjoy watching.