Frances Tiafoe — Delray's new tennis champion
Palm Beach Business
FEBRUARY 25, 2018
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By Cynthia DeLeon and David Sedore
Palm Beach Business Staff
Frances Tiafoe reacts after defeating Peter Gojowczyk Sunday for the singles title at the Delray Beach Open. The win was his first on the ATP World Tour.
frances tiafoe

DELRAY BEACH — The 2018 edition of the Delray Beach Open was expected to be dominated by a cadre of established stars. Instead, a new star emerged.

Frances Tiafoe, 20, of Bethesda, Md., defeated Germany's Peter Gojowczyk 6-1, 6-4 Sunday to become the eight player to win his first ATP the singles title at Delray. Tiafoe also became the first wild card to win the tournament in its 26-year history and the youngest American to win an ATP tournament since Andy Roddick took the Houston Open at 19 years old back in 2002.

Also Sunday, the American team of Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow defeated Nicholas Monroe of the United States and John-Patrick Smith of Australia 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 to take the doubles title. It was the second doubles title at Delray Beach for Sock, who won the singles tournament a year ago.

"I was not expecting this this week, especially after the way the year started," Tiafoe said. "It's unbelievable ... It's an amazing feeling. I just hope I can get many more as I go along."


Going into the match, Gojowczyk had a streak of 14 consecutive wins against American opponents, including John Isner, Reilly Opelka and Steve Johnson during the Delray tournament. Tiafoe said he was determined to end it.

During the match, Gojowczyk struggled with a thigh injury that limited his mobility. A medical team came onto the court to provide treatment three times. But in the end, he gave full credit to Tiafoe. "It was not my day today," Gojowczyk said. "He beat a lot of good guys this week. It was a good week for him, an amazing week."

Tiafoe didn't exactly have an easy path to get to the final. His first match was against Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, the 10th ranked player in the world and the tournament's No. 2 seed. He also had to beat Hyeon Chung, the tournament's eighth seed in a match that had to be extended over two days because of rain before playing his semifinal match against Denis Shapolov later the same day.

"It's a final," Tiafoe said. You step out on the court and I feel that there are no excuses. You both want to win. It's unfortunate what happened today, but I'll take it no matter what."

The tournament field had been touted as one of, if not the strongest in Delray's 26-year history. It featured five former champions, including defending champion Jack Sock, plus Milos Raonic, who a year ago entered the tournament ranked No. 3 in the world. None made it to the round of 16; only one seeded player, Chung made it that far.

Sock said the doubles title will probably add to his reputation as a doubles specialist, but he still sees himself primarily as a singles player who happens to play doubles for fun. He has won a men's doubles title at Wimbleton, a gold medal at the Rio Olympics in mixed doubles and a bronze medal in men's doubles, also at the Rio games.

Scenes from Championship Sunday
peter gojowczyk    
frances tiafoe   tiafoe and gojowczyk  
Top: Gojowczyk against Tiafoe; Smith waits as Madison returns; Sock and Withrow posing with doubles trophies. Bottom: Tiafoe returns fire; Tiafoe and Gojowczyk display hardware; Tiafoe, head covered with a towel, celebrates with his father, Constant (ball cap and ponytail).
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