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Dimitrov defeats Goffin to win ATP Finals title

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LONDON — Grigor Dimitrov claimed the biggest title of his career at the season-ending ATP Finals on Sunday, prevailing on his fifth match point to beat David Goffin of Belgium 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

“It’s such an honor to play here,” Dimitrov said. “This week has been one of the best I’ve ever had.”

The sixth-seeded Bulgarian won in 2 hours, 30 minutes, 15 seconds for the longest final since the tournament returned to a three-set format in 2008.

Dimitrov won all five of his matches at the O2 Arena to become the first player to win the elite tournament on debut since 1998, when Alex Corretja of Spain triumphed in Hanover.

Goffin saved three match points on his own serve, but Dimitrov kept his cool, taking the second opportunity on his own delivery to close it out.

By reaching the final, Dimitrov had already secured a career-high No. 3-ranking to end the year. Goffin also moves up to a career-best No. 7.

The final lasted more than 11 minutes longer than Roger Federer took to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2011. It was a nervous start as both players failed to hold serve in the opening three games before Goffin settled down to control the opener as Dimitrov struggled with his timing.

However, Dimitrov fought his way back into the set. He leveled in the eighth game before breaking once more in the 12th to snatch the set in which Goffin hit eight more winners.

Dimitrov’s confidence carried into the second set, where he brought up the first break point in the sixth game, only for Goffin to produce a stunning cross-court backhand winner to save it. The momentum back with him, Goffin broke the following game for a 4-3 lead and calmly closed out the set.

Having come from behind to beat Federer in Saturday’s semifinal, Goffin had every reason to be confident and could have gone ahead. But he wasted four break points in the opening game – they would turn out to be his only chances in the decider.

Dimitrov was more clinical, striking in the sixth game to take control. Goffin tested Dimitrov’s nerve by saving three match points on his own serve, before saving one on Dimitrov’s. However the Belgian’s resistance came to an end as he netted a backhand volley, leaving Dimitrov in tears.

(This story has been corrected to show it was the longest three-set final since the tournament returned to a three-set format in 2008, not longest three-set final ever.)

Goffin ousts Federer in ATP Finals semis

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LONDON — David Goffin ended Roger Federer’s bid for a seventh ATP Finals title by stunning the favorite 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals on Saturday.

The Belgian claimed the biggest win of his career and qualified for the final on Sunday, when he will face Grigor Dimitrov or Jack Sock. They play later Saturday.

Federer looked to be heading toward his 11th final at the elite season-ending tournament when he cruised through the first set, but Goffin took advantage of a drop in his play to level.

Despite having lost all six of his previous encounters with Federer, Goffin was able to execute better in the deciding set, breaking in the third game and producing a nerveless display of serving to seal victory.

Andy Murray, coach Ivan Lendl end 2nd stint together

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Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl are calling it quits for a second time, ending a partnership that produced three Grand Slam titles and two Olympic gold medals.

Murray announced Friday on his website that he and Lendl “have mutually agreed to end their coaching relationship.”

All of Murray’s greatest triumphs as a tennis player have come with Lendl guiding him as his coach. That includes, most famously, the Scotsman’s 2013 title at Wimbledon, which made him the first British man in 77 years to win the singles championship at the All England Club.

Before that, Lendl helped Murray win the 2012 U.S. Open and the gold medal at the London Olympics earlier that year. Then they split in 2014, before reuniting last year, about a month before Murray won his second Wimbledon trophy.

Murray also reached No. 1 in the ATP rankings while working with Lendl, getting to that spot for the first time in November 2016.

“I’m thankful to Ivan for all his help and guidance over the years,” Murray said in the statement on his site. “We’ve had great success and learned a lot as a team.”

Lendl, who won eight major titles from 1984 to 1990, and Murray were at the forefront of a trend of players hiring former stars of the sport as coaches.

Murray yielded the No. 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal this August, shortly before saying he would miss the rest of the 2017 season because of a hip injury.

It turned out his last match of the year came on July 12 at Wimbledon, where his title defense ended with a five-set quarterfinal loss to Sam Querrey.

Murray intends to be ready for the start of next season in January, when the Australian Open is played, saying Friday: “My focus now is on getting ready for Australia with the team I have in place and getting back to competing.”

He plans to enter a tournament in Brisbane, Australia, to prepare for the year’s first Grand Slam tournament. Before that, he will train in Miami, as usual.

Lendl will continue to work with the U.S. Tennis Association’s player development program.

“I wish Andy well going forward,” Lendl said. “We had a great run and a lot of fun.”

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