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19 November 2017, 13:12
Grigor Dimitrov became the first debutant to win the season-ending ATP Finals for 19 years after defeating David Goffin 7-5 4-6 6-3 in Sunday's final at London's O2.
The Bulgarian edged a thrilling two hour 30 minute contest, sealing victory on his fifth match point when Goffin sunk an easy volley into the net.
He will rise to world No 3 on Monday after claiming the biggest title of his career and a pay cheque of a cool £1.93 million after winning all five matches en route to the title.
Goffin, who became just the sixth player in history to beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the same tournament, forced his opponent back in the opening game and broke in stunning fashion with a scintillating forehand winner.
The break of serves kept coming as both players traded the next two games before the seventh seed restored a semblance of order to proceedings by holding for a 3-1 lead.
Goffin, the first Belgian singles player in the 48-year history of the ATP Finals to qualify for the season finale, could not hold his advantage, however, losing his serve in the worst possible fashion with a double fault and then an unforced error, before Dimitrov held for a 5-4 lead.
The match was proving far different from their round-robin meeting earlier in the week, which Dimitrov won in 74 minutes for the loss of just two games. This time he required five set points in a 12th game lasting 10 minutes, to win the set 7-5 in just under an hour.
In a fluctuation of fortunes, Goffin, 26, saved a break point in the fifth game to level, before turning the second set on its head by crushing a couple of clean winners to move ahead, consolidating it, and taking the final to a deciding set shoot-out.
The opening game of the third set was a marathon 11 minutes, which included five break points, but Dimitrov held on.
And the 26-year-old used his physical prowess to boss his opponent around the court, extracting a couple of crucial errors for the all-important lead.
Goffin saved three match points to ask Dimitrov the serve it out question, but he kept his composure to seal a famous win on his fifth match point, although he was given a helping hand when the Belgian dumped a simple volley into the net.
"It has been a tremendous two weeks for me," Dimitrov told Sky Sports' Annabel Croft in his on-court interview. "It is such an honour for me to play here. These two weeks have been two of the best weeks of my life. Without a doubt.
"Congrats to David and his team for this fantastic week. He is one of the most improved players over the past weeks and months. Unbelievable effort. I am just honoured to have played against him in a final."
Dimitrov will put his racket away and take a well-earned break before training starts all over again in preparation for the Australian Open in 2018. Goffin, on the other hand, has the small matter of leading Belgium in the Davis Cup final against France in Lille next weekend.
The season-ending extravaganza ATP Finals at London's O2 ends another memorable year which we have covered on www.skysports.com/tennis with live blogs, reports and expert analysis. See you in 2018 when we return for the Australian Open.
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(c) Sky News 2017: Grigor Dimitrov beats David Goffin in three sets to win ATP Finals in London