Grigor Dimitrov wins ATP Tour finals

November 20, 2017

Grigor Dimitrov has become the first player outside the 'big four' to win the ATP World Tour Finals since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009.

The Bulgarian clinched the biggest title of his career by beating David Goffin 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, and has now surged to a career-best ranking of third in the world.

Until now the decade has seen some very familiar names holding the trophy, with Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic winning every finals since 2009 until Andy Murray's triumph last year. 

In joining such exalted company, Dimitrov may have hinted that he is finally coming of age. It is not his first notable triumph in London - those booking corporate hospitality for the 2018 Aegon Championships may recall that he won the title at the Queen's Club in 2014 - but this victory might just be catalyst for bigger things in the future.

Speaking afterwards, Dimitrov acknowledged that he has fallen short of the expectations some have had of him thus far, but hopes he can now start to fulfil them.

He remarked: “I think I've had good results in the past, but now, as I said, I need to be even more consistent on those kind of events, and in the same time raise up my level on occasions like this.

“Obviously, this is a great, unbelievable achievement for me, yes. But I still have a lot to give. I want to perform better and better.”

The see-saw battle between the two unexpected finalists was much closer than when the pair met during the round robin stage, when Dimitrov blazed to a 6-0, 6-2 win. 

Indeed, when he has got over the disappointment of his defeat, Goffin will be able to reflect not only that he pushed Dimitrov hard in the match that mattered most, but also that it was he, not the Bulgarian, who ensured there was no chance for one of the established superstars to win the tournament: Having beaten a hobbling Rafael Nadal in the group stage, he produced a major shock with his 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 semi-final victory over Federer.

Moreover, Goffin is also now at his highest ever ranking, finishing the year in seventh. At the age of 26 and with recent victories over the world number one and two, he has every reason to look towards 2018 with optimism.

The end-of-year singles rankings certainly have an unfamiliar look to them. While Nadal and Federer's position at the top is a throwback to days of yore, the presence of Alexander Zverev at fourth and Dominic Thiem at fifth may also be a hint of things to come. Jack Sock also ends the year at a career high, in eighth.

Of course all this may change significantly in the coming months, with tenth-placed Stan Wawrinka, 12th-placed Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, who is now 16th, all hoping to return from their lengthy injury lay-offs in 2018 as impressively as Nadal and Federer have this year.

While 2017's year-end number one continues his recuperation, his brother Jamie was in action at the O2 in the doubles with Bruno Soares. However, the pair were eliminated by Henri Kontinen and Murray's former playing partner John Peers, who went on to retain their title.

Image: Getty, from Keith Prowse subscription 

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