Goffin marches on
David Goffin completed the semi-final lineup at the ATP Finals in emphatic fashion, dispatching world No.4 Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1 to set up a last four meeting with Roger Federer.
Only victory would do for both players, and it was Thiem who came roaring out of the traps, breaking at the first time of asking and establishing a 3-0 lead in the opening set.
Having won just two games in his previous outing against Grigor Dimitrov, Goffin appeared to heading in the same direction against Thiem, leaking errors and offering up cheap points in the face of an Austrian onslaught.
But having started the match with his foot firmly on the accelerator, Thiem suddenly capitulated, not so much hitting the brakes as slamming himself into reverse gear.
Leading 3-1, the Austrian surrendered his serve to the tune of three unforced errors and a double fault, and would thereafter struggle to regain any of his early momentum.
Goffin, meanwhile, was staging a minor resurrection act, ultimately winning 15 points in a row as he recovered from 3-0 down to 4-3 with a break in hand.
In the blink of an eye, the Belgian had won five games in a row, and though Thiem posed some resistance in the final game, Goffin served out to take the opener.
Keen to right the wrongs of the first set, Thiem started the second in much the same way he began the match, registering a commanding hold to love.
But unfortunately for Thiem, that was as good as it got, with Goffin embarking on a six-game winning streak to claim victory.
While the Belgian had to fend off a break point at 2-1 and then another four during an 11 minute game, Thiem simply didn't possess the consistency to pose a substantial threat to the outcome, and Goffin sealed his passage to the semi-finals with a sweet down-the-line backhand.
In his six meetings with Federer, Goffin has claimed just a solitary set - coming back at Roland Garros in 2012 - and the Belgian was under no illusions about the scale of the task facing him.
"I’ve played Roger so many times and it’s always a tough match to play Roger," said the Belgian
"I have nothing to lose. He’s playing so well but I will try to raise my level against him."
Dimitrov flying high
Grigor Dimitrov powered into the last four of the ATP Finals after dismantling Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1, 6-1 in just 59 minutes.
After requiring three sets to get past Dominic Thiem in his opening round robin match, Dimitrov has since claimed two wins against David Goffin and Carreno Busta for the loss of just four games, and this performance was as impressive as anything that has come before it during the week in London.
Despite having already secured top spot in the Pete Sampras group, there were no signs of Dimitrov resting on his laurels. Oozing with confidence, every aspect of his game was in perfect working order from the off, with the first 11 points going the way of the Bulgarian.
Carreno Busta was never able to recover from that early onslaught, while Dimitrov went from strength to strength, galloping around the court and starving the Spaniard of any opportunities to establish a foothold in the match.
Dimitrov's demolition job was complete when Carreno Busta dragged a forehand wide, meaning the world No.6 marches into the semi-finals unbeaten.
"I wanted to keep on going with the style that I've been doing so far," said Dimitrov.
"I followed my game well and didn't make mistakes. I think the simplicity helped me to play such a good game, to go through those matches in such a manner."
Having begun his 2017 season with victories over Thiem, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic en route to the Brisbane title, and a semi-final berth at the Australian Open, Dimitrov has rediscovered his best form, and will take some stopping here in London.
Next up for the Bulgarian is Jack Sock, who holds a 3-1 lead in the pair's head-to-head.
"He [Sock] is not an ordinary player," said Dimitrov.
"He really uses his strengths very good. I think he obviously has improved a lot in his game, played pretty much throughout the whole year, very strong finish of the year, won Paris. Obviously he's riding on confidence right now."