Federer keen for Australian Open after shocking ATP defeat

David Goffin

In the controlled condition of an indoor court, low bouncing, semi-fast Federer is the knife's edge.

The defeat came as a shock because Federer had remained unbeaten in his previous six clashes against Goffin.

"To beat Roger for the first time here in such a big event, big tournament, it was the flawless moment", said the victor.

"Both are really special".

"For my first time, to play the three guys that were in our group, to get through, was a big confidence booster for me".

The seventh-seeded Belgian came from a set down to claim his first victory over Switzerland's 19-time Grand Slam champion in seven attempts.

"It is the greatest win of my career, for sure".

A routine Federer victory - which the bookies had around the 1/10 mark at the outset - looked very much on the cards in the early stages as he raced through the first set in 33 minutes. But Goffin start to dial in his groundstrokes in the second and then the errors crept in for Federer. By then Federer, in ink-green shorts and a colourless tee, had replaced his match face, calculated calm, with a scowl, and his game had tightened too.

In the third, Federer opened with a strong service game but then fell apart at 1-all giving Goffin the lead. The 26-year-old, a first-time qualifier here, had reason to fight.

"I have no words", Goffin said.

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"I can't describe how I'm feeling". Been so happy that I was playing at this level from the beginning till basically the end, till today. "Against Roger, it was such a special moment, I can not describe", Goffin said after the match. I can not describe it.

On Saturday, it appeared he would have an extra day to prepare for national duty as 36-year-old Federer feasted on the elegant Goffin's medium-pace game to boss the opener.

"I just think he raised his game".

"That forehand gives me so much trouble, I'm not going to lie". There's just so many things that you bring out. He started to feel better from the baseline. But he squandered two match points en route to deuce and soon missed two more opportunities. "Also, I wanted to play good".

Either way, the final will produce a first-time victor for ATP's year-end showcase event, whether it is Dimitrov who is making his debut in the ATP Finals, or Goffin, who played one match as an alternate in 2016 and made his debut as an outright qualifier this year.

To his credit, Dimitrov responded well, winning the first three games of the second set.

Goffin defeated Federer - six times an ATP Finals victor - 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

After going down a quick break in the second, Sock all but conceded the set, similar to what he did against Alexander Zverev.

He zoned in at the start of the decider to create a break point chance, but couldn't convert as Dimitrov held firm, with a hearty portion of Bulgarian fans bursting into life to chant his name in encouragement. "That's the reason he's in the final".


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