14-time semi-finalist at the ATP Finals, Roger Federer, had everything to lose when he faced David Goffin on Saturday and he eventually lost his way going down 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. In another game, Grigor Dimitrov continued his winning run as he defeated Jack Sock 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 quite comfortably.
The Belgium ace had admitted before his big semi-final game that he had no idea how to beat Roger Federer, though he wanted to try ‘something different’ that he didn’t do in their past six meetings where he had managed to win only two sets.
Asked after his brilliant win on Saturday, the Belgium revealed that he didn’t really know what he did differently.
“Honestly, I don't know. It was just the feeling. I was a bit nervous at the beginning, but I did some great serves, I was really aggressive so yeah, that was my day," said Goffin.
Goffin did open the match in a positive manner where he aced Federer twice but soon succumbed to pressure and squandered a game point that allowed his star opponent to get right back into the game and claim the first game. The Belgium, however, looked more offensive in his approach attempting to work Federer more by placing balls into the corners and mixing up his shots.
His bravery was having its effect as the Swiss ace made two wrong challenges within the first four games. And although Federer won the first set 6-2, after many of Goffin’s balls fell short of the
Goffin’s serves were too much to handle for Federer as he won 78% of his firsts serves in the second set and continued winning 88% of them in the final set. The 19-time Grand Slam champion didn’t look ready for another challenge. By 4-3 to Goffin in the third, the match looked to go either way. However, a hold from Goffin and a hold from Federer and the Belgian was serving for the match which he closed out comfortably.
Goffin will play an in-form Grigor Dimitrov, who was unmatchable against Paris Masters winner Jack Sock in the Pete Sampras semifinal, next. Dimitrov has won all his games in the tournament so far, losing just four games in his previous two matches. However, a confident Sock came into the game with an 80% record on service games won and his fierce attack sealed the first set 6-4 to his name.
Dimitrov had started the first set with an early break and did the same in the second, leading 3-0 in no time. It is always risky to give one’s opponent an early lead and then come back to win it and Sock couldn’t get it this time, losing the second set 6-0. Sock, yet another debutante in the ATP finals, wasn’t letting it go easily and the crowd was in for a stormy final set that saw drops shots, volleys and ace aplenty.