Beats Goffin to become 1st debutant to win finale since 1998.
London: Grigor Dimitrov beat David Goffin 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in a gripping title decider at the ATP Finals to become the first debutant to win the season finale since 1998.
In a surprise final match-up, the Bulgarian sixth seed held his nerve under intense pressure at London's O2 Arena to seal the biggest title of his career on his fifth match point.
He will climb to third in the rankings behind only Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer as he begins to deliver decisively on his rich promise as a youngster.
“It has been a tremendous two weeks for me,” said the 26 -year-old. “It is such an honour to play here. This week has been one of the best I have had,” he added.
“I am lost for words. My team have been unbelievable, my family,” he added further.
The Bulgarian came into the title decider unbeaten at the O2, with a healthy 4-1 head-to-head record against Goffin, including a 6-0, 6-2 win in the round-robin stage.
But seventh seed Goffin was buoyed by wins over world number one Nadal and and a gutsy effort against second seed Federer, coming back from a set down to beat the Swiss in the semi-finals.
Both players struggled to hold serve at the start of the contest in front of a feisty packed house and the error count was high from both men.
The ATP Finals have had an unusual flavour this year, missing Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic while world number one 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.