That was not the only record Dimitrov set. After winning all five of his matches at the O2 Arena, he became the first player since 1998 to win the elite tournament in his debut appearance. Alex Corretja of Spain won that year in Hanover, Germany.
“I was a little bit tired,” said Dimitrov, who beat Goffin for the loss of just two games when they met on Wednesday. “I had to play a few matches, obviously, back to back against solid opponents. I knew that David is going to try something new. He had to be aggressive in order so he doesn’t let me play my game.”
Goffin’s adjustments paid off early as he broke Dimitrov’s first two service games on either side of a loss in his own and then settled down to take control in the opening set.
But Dimitrov fought his way back. He leveled the score in the eighth game before breaking once more in the 12th to take the set, even after Goffin had hit eight more winners.
Dimitrov’s confidence carried into the second set. He brought up the first break point in the sixth game, only for Goffin to produce a stunning cross-court backhand winner and save it. The momentum back with him, Goffin broke in the following game for a 4-3 lead and calmly closed out the set.
Having become the sixth player to beat Nadal and Federer at the same tournament — Federer from a set down in the semifinals — Goffin had every reason to be confident after drawing even. But he wasted four break points in the opening game of the final set, and those turned out to be his only chances.
“I think after this week, I’m a better player mentally,” said Goffin, who ended the season at a career-high No. 7 ranking. “I proved to myself that I can do it.”
Dimitrov was more clinical, striking in the sixth game to take control of the third set. However, he has had problems closing matches out this season, having lost three times after holding match points, and had cause for concern when Goffin saved his first three to hold from 0-40 down at 2-5.
Dimitrov served his way to 40-15 but let another chance drift away before Goffin finally netted a backhand volley to end the match.
“I was a little bit tired in the third,” Goffin said. “It’s the only game maybe I didn’t serve well. I didn’t put a lot of first serves in that game.”
He added, “He was really solid.”
Dimitrov claimed his first Masters title in Cincinnati in August, and having risen to a career-high No. 3 ranking with his victory in London, his next goal is a Grand Slam.
“I don’t want to get too hyped up because I’ve done well, now I’m No. 3 in the world,” Dimitrov said. “Of course, one of my main goals is to win a Grand Slam tournament. This has always been, again, a dream of mine.”