Grigor Dimitrov and Pablo Carreno Busta will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers at the ATP level when they wrap up round-robin competition at the World Tour Finals on Friday night. Ranking points and prize money are on the line, but their tournament fates have already been decided. Carreno Busta, an alternate awaiting just his second match of the week, is understandably out. Dimitrov, undefeated at 2-0, is in the semifinals.
Making his debut at the year-end championship, Dimitrov opened with a 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 defeat of Dominic Thiem before destroying David Goffin 6-0, 6-2 on Wednesday. The sixth-ranked Bulgarian is 46-19 this season with three titles–one of the Masters 1000 variety in Cincinnati.
“It could be,” Dimitrov said of his performance against Goffin when asked if it was his best since the Australian Open. “I’ve played I think a little bit over 50 matches. I think I need to sit down and think about it, but right now, from the top of my head, this is definitely the one that sticks out in terms of consistency, focus, striking the ball, movement, agility; everything that I can possibly think.”
Carreno Busta is also playing at the O2 Arena for the first time, and he needed some help in order to do so. The 10th-ranked Spaniard was in position to qualify outright following a run to the U.S. Open semifinals, but he promptly went 1-6 during a span of seven matches. Thus he was overtaken for the eighth and final spot when Jack Sock stunningly captured the Paris Masters title. Carreno Busta is now 1-7 in his last eight matches after succumbing to Thiem 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 on Wednesday.
“I [dreamt] a lot of times to be here and play,” the 26-year-old assured. “I think it’s a big opportunity for me. I (will) just try to do my best. I think I have no pressure; nothing to lose. I (will) just try to enjoy; to learn.”
Carreno Busta’s showing against Thiem was an impressive one–certainly better than what he had previously showcased during the fall swing. But his semifinal hopes have come and gone, and Dimitrov is currently looking like the second best player in London behind Roger Federer.
Pick: Dimitrov in 2