SOFIA, February 11, 2017
At the inaugural Garanti Koza Sofia Open last year, local fans were still missing Bulgaria’s top player Grigor Dimtirov. In 2017, however, the home favourite is competing in the ATP 250 event, held at Arena Armeec, and he eventually advanced to the final.
The third seed eased past surprise semifinalist Nikoloz Basilahsvili, who had beaten two seeded players, Dominic Thiem and Martin Klizan, winning Saturday evening’s encounter 6-1, 6-3. Dimitrov sent down nine aces, saved all of the three break points he faced to secure victory in only 63 minutes.
The World No. 13 from Bulgaria will face David Goffin for the title on Sunday. The second favourite from Belgium overcame defending champion Roberto Bautista-Agut of Spain, rallying 5-7, 6-4, 7-6. Goffin won four points less than his opponent but prevailed in the tie-break of the third set 7-3 after two hours and 44 minutes.
“It was a tough match, tough battle. I knew before that I had to fight against him because he’s such a great fighter. I knew at the end I had to be offensive,” Goffin said.
Dimitrov had won all of the five previous encounter between the two. The last meeting took place at this year’s Australian Open when the in-form-Bulgarian emerged victorious from the quarterfinal clash in three sets.