Tue, Nov 21, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Dimitrov sets sights on Grand Slam win

YOUNG GUNS:The Bulgarian said it was too soon to proclaim a new era and write the obituaries of the ‘Big Four,’ who have dominated tennis over the past decade

AFP, LONDON

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov returns to David Goffin of Belgium in the final of the ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Grigor Dimitrov on Sunday set his sights on winning his first Grand Slam after his dramatic victory at the ATP Finals in London gave him the biggest title of his career.

The Bulgarian sixth seed held his nerve to beat Belgium’s David Goffin 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in a gripping contest at the O2 Arena, finally sealing the match with his fifth championship point.

The victory takes the 26-year-old to the dizzy heights of third in the rankings behind only Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer as he begins to deliver on his rich promise.

Nicknamed “Baby Fed” early in his career for the similarity of style in his game to the Swiss star, Dimitrov has struggled to live up to the comparison and was as low as 40th in the world in the middle of last year, but he has bounced back strongly to enjoy the best season of his career this year, winning four titles, including his first Masters title in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dimitrov has never been beyond the semi-finals of a Grand Slam, reaching the last four at Wimbledon in 2014 and repeating the feat in Australia earlier this year.

“I’m still trying to think about what I just did,” the Bulgarian said after his victory. “I think now definitely we [are] going to sit down with the team and reassess the whole year, see what we’ve done good, what we can improve. Of course, one of my main goals is to win a tournament, you know, a Grand Slam tournament. This has always been, again, a dream of mine. Now, slowly, I think this thing is getting there.”

“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,” he said. “Obviously, this is a great, unbelievable achievement for me, yes, but, yeah, I just still have a lot to give.”

The ATP Finals have had an unusual flavor this year, missing Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, while world No. 1 Nadal was forced to pull out injured after his opening round-robin match.

In a huge shock, Roger Federer was ousted in the semi-finals by Goffin, but Dimitrov said it was too soon to proclaim a new era and write the obituaries of the “Big Four,” who have dominated tennis over the past decade and more.

“Next year, I think is going to be obviously pretty interesting, especially the beginning of it,” he said. “There’s still quite a few names that are going to come back and play. That’s just obvious. You should never count them out.”

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