Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov raced into the semi-finals of the ATP Finals with a 6-0, 6-2 demolition of David Goffin on Wednesday.
Dimitrov has never quite lived up to his billing as the heir to Roger Federer’s throne, but the world number six’s eye-catching rout of Goffin was a reminder he is still young and gifted enough to finally make the breakthrough.
The 26-year-old unloaded 18 winners to dismiss the Belgian world number eight at London’s O2 Arena and seal his spot in the last four with one match to play.
Dimitrov, who defeated Dominic Thiem in three sets in his Pete Sampras group opener, has already made history as the first Bulgarian to qualify for the season-ending Tour finals.
And, while Federer remains the title favourite following Rafael Nadal’s injury withdrawal, Dimitrov will fancy his chances of becoming the first debutant winner since Alex Corretja in 1998.
Goffin, another first time Tour Finals qualifier, had made a flying start with his dramatic three-set victory over Nadal on Monday.
But that victory was slightly devalued as the world number one was struggling with a knee injury and pulled out of the tournament after the match.
Now Goffin will have to win his last group match against Thiem to have a chance of joining Dimitrov in the semi-finals.
World number two Federer, aiming for his seventh Tour Finals title, has already qualified for the last four from Boris Becker group after winning his first two matches.
Alexander Zverev or Jack Sock will advance with Federer as the second qualifier from the Becker group.
Dimitrov had won three of his four previous meetings with Goffin and he was quick to establish control once again.
Goffin had a strapping around his left knee and Dimitrov immediately tested his mobility.
Moving Goffin around the court with some deft groundstrokes, Dimitrov landed an early blow with a break in the second game of the first set.
Dimitrov was dominating from the baseline and, with Goffin unable to find any rhythm, the Bulgarian broke twice more to take the set in just 27 minutes.
Goffin fared little better in the second set as Dimitrov made it nine games in a row to take a 3-0 lead.
The Belgian finally held serve in the 10th game, sparking mocking cheers from the crowd as he avoided the embarrassment of a total whitewash.
Dimitrov was warned for a coaching violation when the umpire said his coach Daniel Vallverdu told him to “use your forehand”.
The Bulgarian claimed he didn’t hear it, but he regained his composure to close out the victory.
Later on Wednesday, Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta makes his Tour Finals debut against Thiem after replacing the injured Nadal.
Carreno Busta has reached a career-high 10th in the world rankings after compiling a 36-24 record this year.
Austrian fourth seed Thiem has won all four of their previous encounters.