Associated Press

Dimitrov beats Goffin to reach semifinals at ATP Finals

Leave a comment

LONDON (AP) The coaching seemed to have helped, whether Grigor Dimitrov heard it or not.

The sixth-seeded Bulgarian made his way into the semifinals at the ATP Finals on Wednesday by beating David Goffin 6-0, 6-2, but he was given a violation for coaching during the second set.

A linesman informed the chair umpire of the infraction during the fifth game of the final set, and Dimitrov reacted by saying he didn’t hear anything.

He probably didn’t need any extra advice anyway, not after the way he was playing, and the way Goffin was, too.

Dimitrov ended up winning 34 of the 47 points he served and won 32 of the 57 points served by Goffin.

In the first set, Dimitrov lost only two points on his serve and twice broke Goffin without even going to deuce. Goffin finally managed to hold serve in the second set, but Dimitrov still was able to break the Belgian’s serve two more times.

“He came to the net from the beginning, from the first point,” Goffin said. “It was not easy for me to lose my serve from the start. It was tough for my confidence after that when it was 0-4.”

The win gives Dimitrov a 2-0 record and ensures he will play on the weekend in his debut at the season-ending tournament. Roger Federer has also already qualified for the semifinals.

In Wednesday’s late match, Pablo Carreno Busta will face Dominic Thiem. Carreno Busta will be playing his first match at this year’s tournament after stepping in to replace the injured Rafael Nadal.

Dimitrov, who won three tournaments this year and reached the semifinals at the Australian Open, will next face Carreno Busta on Friday. Goffin, who is 1-1, will play Thiem that same day.

Goffin beat Nadal in his opening match, calling it the best win of his career. He still has a chance to reach the semifinals, and still has the Davis Cup final at the end of the month when Belgium will take on France in Lille.

“This event is really important. It’s one of the biggest events of the year. I’m going to focus on the next match. If there is another one, I will be focused on the next one. Then we will see,” Goffin said. “The Davis Cup, I’m not thinking about the Davis Cup for the moment. I know it’s just after this event. We will see. I’m just focused on this event first, then we see after.”

Two-time champ Azarenka gets Australian Open wild card

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time former champion Victoria Azarenka has been awarded a wild card for the Australian Open.

Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, has been involved in a custody dispute involving her son Leo, who was born last Dec. 19.

She hasn’t competed anywhere since Wimbledon, where she lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10. The dispute with her former partner started shortly after Wimbledon ended.

Azarenka has played only six matches this year and is ranked 208th.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said on Wednesday that every assistance would be provided to the former No. 1, adding “Vika’s current situation is obviously very difficult for her and we have reached out to offer any support we can.”

The Australian Open starts on Jan. 15.

Nadal, Muguruza win ITF player of the year awards

AP Photo
Leave a comment

LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.

At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.

The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.

Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.

“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”