LONDON – Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov won the most important tennis tourney of his career on Sunday, defeating Belgium’s David Goffin 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, thus winning the Nitto ATP Final at London’s O2 Arena.
The third-ranked Dimitrov needed 2 hours and 30 minutes, with the third set being by far the longest, to win his fourth title of this season, after triumphing in Brisbane, Sofia and at the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
He is the first Bulgarian to win this Masters tournament and also the first rookie to win the tourney in his debut year since Spain’s Alex Corretja beat countryman Carlos Moya in the contest in Hannover, Germany in 1998.
Boris Becker, the German three-time Masters tourney winner (1988, 1992 and 1995) presented the trophy to Dimitrov and at the ceremony Goffin had words of praise for his rival, saying “You worked very hard and you deserved it.”
“It’s been a very special week for me, full of emotion, incredible, but it’s been very tough,” added the Belgian, who next week will compete in the Davis Cup final against France in Lille.
“It’s been a tremendous week. Much luck David at the Davis Cup,” answered Dimitrov, going on to thank “my girlfriend Nicole (Scherzinger) who has been here the entire time. Now, a little rest on the beach seems like a good idea to me.”
Given that he was undefeated throughout the tournament, winning all three of his matches in the group phase, the semifinal and the final, Dimitrov will take home $2.549 million and garner 1,500 rating points, thus ending the season behind Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Switzerland’s Roger Federer, but in the best position of his career with 4,455 points.
The final match was great tennis, with Goffin defending with every weapon in his arsenal and Dimitrov on the attack.
Goffin had defeated Federer in the semifinals and Dimitrov had triumphed over American Jack Sock on Saturday.