In one of the major upsets of the year, David Goffin of Belgium, rallied to beat six time champion Roger Federer 2-6,6-3,6-4 in one hour and forty four minutes to enter the biggest final of his career at the O2 Arena in London. He will face another debutant Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria who too rallied from a set down to beat the American Jack Sock 4-6,6-0,6-3 in one hour and fifty minutes on Saturday.
The seventh ranked Goffin who qualified in the last tournament in Paris before the season ending finale in London, looked to have no answer to the second ranked Federer who broke serve twice, including the very first game, and looked to be cruising for his eleventh apprearance in the final. Goffin, who came into the match having lost all six previous matches against the Swiss maestro, broke in the second game of the second set and then in the third game of the third set and that was all he needed as he held is own serve for the last two sets. Federer paid the price for converting on only two out of the eleven break point chances he had, and himself saved only one of the three break points he faced.
Goffin, who will lead his country Belgium in the final of the Davis Cup against France next week is the first player to beat both the top two players at the season ending finale since Nikolay Davydenko of Russia in 2009. Both players beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Goffin also becomes only the sixth player to beat both Federer and Nadal at the same tournament. Djokovic having done it five times, David Nalbandian and Nikolay Davydenko having done it twice each, and Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro having done it once each.
In the second semi final, the ninth ranked Sock who qualified for the elite eight man field after a dramatic last minute entry following his first M Master’s series event in Paris, got off to the perfect start as he took the opening set 6-4. Dimitrov, who like Federer had a 3-0 record in the round robin matches, stormed back to bagel the American 6-0 in the second set breaking serve thrice.
One break of serve was all he needed in the decider as he secured the win which means he will finish the year at a career high third ranking ahead of the German Alexander Zverev. Goffin meanwhile will finish at a career high fifth should he win the title on Sunday.
Goffin will have his task cut out as he lost 6-0,6-2 on Wednesday to Dimitrov in their second match of round robin play in the Pete Sampras group. Dimitrov also takes a 4-1 career head to head against Goffin in the finals. It will be the fifth meeting between the two this year, Dimitrov leads 3-1, the only time Goffin won was in the quarter finals of the Rotterdam Open ATP500 event in February.
Prediction :- The Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov is playing the best tennis of his career and has a 48-19 record this year. He dropped only two games against Goffin on Wednesday, the Belgian has a 57-23 record for the year. Goffin is the underdog and has little to lose like his match against Federer. Dimitrov should clinch this in two close sets.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]