02:23 PM GMT November 15, 2017
Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday looked like a man determined to seize his first opportunity at the Nitto ATP Finals.
The sixth seed dashed to 6-0, 6-2 win against Belgian David Goffin, cruising in only 74 minutes to move to 2-0 in London. Dimitrov guaranteed his spot in the semi-finals, joining Roger Federer as the only two singles players who have secured their weekend reservations. The Bulgarian has also put himself in great shape to win Group Pete Sampras and face the second-place finisher of Group Boris Becker on Saturday.
“I think clearly I played a great match today,” Dimitrov said. “I think my focus was very good. I started the match well. I was using every opportunity. I took care of all of the balls that I had to. I won the most important points, especially in the first set.”
The first Bulgarian to qualify for the season finale in its 48-year history was dominant all day. He raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set, winning 12 of the first 15 points. Goffin had two chances on serve for 1-3, but Dimitrov pulled out the 15-point game and broke once more to win the first set.
Forty-eight minutes into the match, Goffin put himself on the scoreboard. But he never found the level that helped him to the biggest win of his career over World No. 1 Rafael Nadal at The O2 on Monday, partly because Dimitrov was pressing him all match. The sixth seed charged the net 17 times, winning 70 per cent of those points.
“I'm feeling okay. It was not the problem today. It was just a tough, tough match against Grigor, who played really well,” Goffin said.
“It was not easy for me to lose my serve from the start. It was tough for my confidence after that when it was 0-4. In the second, I had some opportunities to come back, to break back, but he was really solid. He served well.”
Goffin finished with only nine winners and 28 unforced errors. Dimitrov was nearly the opposite: 18 winners and 11 unforced errors.
Dimitrov, who improved to 46-19 this season, said he played one of his best matches of the year. “This is definitely the one that sticks out in terms of consistency, focus, striking the ball, movement, agility, everything that I can possibly think... I work for those moments, too... They don't just come to you. Again, when you recognize that, you might as well make the most out of it,” he said.
The matchup seemed like it would follow a Nitto ATP Finals pattern so far this week and go three sets. Goffin had beaten Dimitrov during their most recent FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, a three-sets win indoors in February at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.
Instead, the Belgian, who still has a chance to qualify for the semi-finals, will try to finish Group Pete Sampras play with a win against Austrian Dominic Thiem on Friday. Goffin leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 6-3.
“I have to now prepare for the next one... As a tennis player, normally you lose almost every week. Like I said, it's just another loss. The most important [thing] is to think about the next match,” Goffin said. “I have already an idea with the tactics against [Thiem] because I played so many times against him. We played a lot of good matches against each other.”