By Ros Satar at the O2, London
- ATP World Tour Finals debutants Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin clash for the title
LONDON, UK – For the first time, two first time qualifiers will face off for the season-ending title, as Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin are the last two standing at this year’s Nitto ATP Finals.
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Grigor Dimitrov  v David Goffin  | H2H: 4-1
After injury pull-outs mid-season of the usual suspects, injury withdrawals and shock results, the finals of the Nitto ATP Finals are set as Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin will face each other for the season-ending title, on their debuts.
It is the first time in the history of the ATP Finals (since 1970) that this has happened, being the first from their respective countries to qualify for the championships.
This will be their sixth tour-level career meeting, although the pair are no strangers having faced each other three times before on the lower tiers of the circuit. In all but one meeting, Dimitrov has been triumphant.
Grigor Dimitrov  – Path to the Final
The pair, who were both in Group Pete Sampras faced each other in the round-robin stage where Dimitrov coasted to a win for the loss of just two games. The Bulgarian, who is set to rise up into the Top 3 when the new rankings come out on Monday, has not los a match throughout the entire tournament and is 3-1 in finals this season.
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David Goffin  – Path to the Final
For Goffin, he had at least a taste of that this arena has to offer. The Belgian was an alternate last year, and qualified in his own right off the back of a great second half of the year after an horrific ankle injury threatened to derail his entire season.
Coming back strong after having to skip the whole grass court season, Goffin qualified on the strength of back to back titles in Shenzhen and Tokyo. He has notched up two career best wins over the World Nos. 1 and 2 in Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and he too is set for a career high of No. 7 for reaching the final, or will crack the World Top 5 if he wins the title.
By his own admission, Goffin coming into the net is not his go-to move, but he tried a lot more of that to good effect against Federer. He may not be the most powerful in the pack but he has great movement, solid groundstrokes and plays with a lovely fluid style, and with great precision.
If he can pull Dimitrov off the baseline, he ought to give himself a good shot at certainly taking this final the distance, and maybe, if Dimitrov’s concentration goes walkabout as it did against Jack Sock, he could scoop the ultimate prize.
But it is hard to overlook the fantastic form of Dimitrov just now. He has always had this potential, and for whatever reasons or distractions, it is only manifesting itself now.
His partnership with Andy Murray‘s former coach aDani Vallverdu came at a time when Dimitrov needed perhaps a bit of discipline and certainly a calm voice and presence, and somewhat wisely it has taken its time to grow into a successful partnership that saw Dimitrov win his maiden Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati this year.
His serving has largely improved and he has been focused. His win over Sock has maybe given him a little more self-belief that he has what it takes to succeed at the top.
It is a close one to call, and putting aside the drubbing that Dimitrov gave Goffin in the group stages. Having pulled off two spectacult wins, it is unlikely that Goffin will come out as flat as he did against the Bulgarian again.
Prediction: Dimitrov in three sets.
The final of the Nitto ATP Finals will be at 6pm GMT.
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