It took the Belgian 49 minutes to win his first game. But by then Dimitrov was leading 6-0 3-1. He made Dimitrov struggle in the fifth game of the set but the 26-year-old Bulgarian hung on to lead 4-1.
There were some glimpses of Goffin’s talent during some pulsating exchanges from the baseline but the force was with his opponent.
“I was just following my game,” said Dimitrov after the victory. “I think my focus was very good. I started the match well. I was certain about how I wanted to play and I think my confidence was growing with each game.”
The pair have played each other eight times since their first meeting in their late teens on the Futures circuit. The match on one of the most prestigious stages of world tennis at the 02 Arena was Dimitrov’s seventh win over Goffin and the most one sided.
“I really went for my shots and I created opportunities and I used them,” added Dimitrov. “It seemed like everything I was trying to do paid off. I didn’t think I was doing anything outrageous. I just felt I was there when I had to be.”
As a result of his win, Dimitrov, who is making his debut at the season ending championships, will advance from the Pete Sampras group into Saturday’s semi-final.
His final match in the pool on Friday against Pablo Carreno Busta will determine if he progresses as group winner to face the runner-up from the Boris Becker group.
Goffin, 25, who is also competing in London for the first time, still has a chance to make the last four. He will have to beat fourth seed Dominic Thiem on Friday.
“Grigor was just better than me,” conceded Goffin. “He was more aggressive. He came to the net from the first point. It was tough losing my serve at the beginning and then suddenly I was down 4-0. He served well and was solid from the beginning until the end of the match.”
Goffin, who beat top seed Rafael Nadal in his opening match on Monday night, said he would not be discouraged by the setback. “It’s just a defeat. As a tennis player you normally lose every week so now the most important thing is to think about the next match.”