Every underdog has his day, though.
Dimitrov and Goffin both rallied for three-set victories to set up a championship clash at the season-ending event. It will be a rematch of their round-robin encounter earlier in the week, which Dimitrov won in dominant fashion, taking the match by a 6-0, 6-2 scoreline.
Dimitrov entered today’s semifinal against Sock with a 1-3 record against the American, which included losing an early-round match in Indian Wells this year in a third-set tiebreak.
At the time, Dimitrov was playing some of his best tennis, coming off a semifinal at the Australian Open and two early-season tournament victories in Brisbane and Bulgaria, where he defeated Goffin in the final. After the Indian Wells loss, Dimitrov struggled for months until he won his first Masters title in Cincinnati.
Today, he dropped the first set against Sock, the last player to make the field at the ATP Finals. Dimitrov then blitzed through the second set to level the match. In the decider, the two remained on serve until the Bulgarian broke to take a 5-3 lead. Sock fought off multiple match points, until Dimitrov clinched the win.
Dimitrov has a 3-1 head-to-head record against Goffin, but the Belgian showed today against Federer that he knows how to turn the tables when the odds aren’t in his favor.
Over the years, Federer racked up a 6-0 record against Goffin, including a 6-1, 6-2 thrashing in Basel a few weeks ago. Today, Federer won the first set in quick fashion and in the second, it looked like the world No. 2 was going to run away with the match. Instead, Goffin mounted a comeback to reach his third final since the US Open that just happens to be the biggest of his career.
It’s been quite a recovery for the Belgian, who missed a portion of the season due to an ankle injury suffered at the French Open. He finally began to recapture his form from the beginning of the year when he won two tournaments over the Asia Swing.
Now, Goffin gets a chance to extract some revenge on Dimitrov in the last tournament of the season. It’s been a strong tournament for both first-time participants and as their wins today indicate, they’re ready for any challenge—even when the odds aren’t in their favor.