#NextGenATP Tiafoe Breaks Through

Frances Tiafoe (photo: Delray Beach Open/facebook)

DELRAY BEACH, February 26, 2018

Frances Tiafoe coasted to his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday, beating German Peter Gojowczyk in the singles final of the Delray Beach Open 6-1, 6-4.

The 20-year-old wild card entry fired 13 aces, winning 89 per cent of his first service points to become the youngest US-American to win an ATP World Tour title since 19-year-old Andy Roddick at 2002 Houston. Tiafoe finished the encounter in 61 minutes.

Before last week’s New York Open, Tiafoe had won nine tour-level matches (9-31) and had never reached a tour-level quarterfinal. But after reaching the last eight in New York, where he fell to Kevin Anderson, and triumphing in Delray Beach, Tiafoe almost doubled his tour-level win count (16) in two weeks.

Tiafoe becomes the first wild-card champion in the tournament’s 26-year history, and rises to No. 61 in the ATP Rankings, just one spot off his career high.

“I was not expecting this this week, especially with how the year started and everything. It’s unbelievable. It’s obviously a dream to win your first title. Now I got that off my back so that feels pretty good, so early in my career. It’s an amazing feeling and I just hope I can get many more as I go along,” Tiafoe said.

“If you asked me when I was younger if I was going to be here at 20 years old, winning a title, now being in a position to not only help myself but my family, it’s an unbelievable place to be in, and I hope to just go only forward.”

Gojowczyk had beaten a trio of Tiafoe’s compatriots – John Isner, Reilly Opelka and Steve Johnson – to make the Delray Beach Open final. The German fell to 1-1 in ATP World Tour finals, after winning the 2017 Metz title.

“It was not my day today… But still, it was a good week for me, too. I reached my career high now, 51, with this tournament. So keep looking forward,” Gojowczyk said.

Childhood Friends Sock/Withrow Take Doubles Title

Childhood friends Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow celebrated their first team title, beating Nicholas Monroe and John-Patrick Smith 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 in one hour and 19 minutes. Sock and Withrow both grew up in Nebraska; Sock was raised in Lincoln, just 45 minutes from Withrow in Omaha.

“I’m not really [surprised]… I’ve established myself in the doubles world for a while now. I’ve played well against a lot of teams. Obviously the Bryans are the greatest team to ever play and, I think, forever will be. Any time you get a win against those guys is fun and special… that was a great win for us, probably a big confidence boost,” told Sock, who now has nine ATP World Tour doubles titles.

“It’s something that I’ve always planned on doing and pictured doing… To do it with him, it makes it more special, for sure,” added first-time champion Withrow.