Tiafoe stops Gojowczyk to claim first ATP title

MIAMI: Wild card Frances Tiafoe captured his first ATP Tour title on Sunday, defeating Peter Gojowczyk in the Delray Beach Open final to become the youngest American to win a ATP Tour title in 15 years.
The 20-year-old Tiafoe toppled the German in straight sets, winning 6-1, 6-4 as he continued his successful start to the 2018 season which has seen him beat the likes of Juan Martin Del Potro, Chung Hyeon and Denis Shapovalov.
“I can’t believe it,” said Tiafoe. “If you had asked me 10 years ago if I could win a title at 20 I would have laughed. It’s unbelievable.”
His win marks the youngest by an American since Andy Roddick won the 2002 Houston tournament at age 19.
“I got a lot of love this week. I am really happy I got over that line,” he said.
“It is going to be a good night. The next couple of days I am going to enjoy this.”
Gojowczyk has been a thorn in the side of the Americans on the ATP Tour for some time. Going into Sunday’s final, he held an eight match win streak over US opponents.
He reached the Florida final by beating John Isner, Steve Johnson and Reilly Opelka as his maiden title capped off the best two weeks of his young career.
“He beat all the Americans so I am happy I stopped that,” said Tiafoe.
Tiafoe hammered 13 aces, won 89 per cent of his first-serve points in the 61 minute match.
Gojowczyk, 28, had his serve broken four times and earned just nine points (39 per cent) on his second serve.
This was the first meeting on the ATP Tour between the two. They played twice previously on the lower level circuits in 2016 with each winning once.
Tiafoe reached the final by beating Shapovalov in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4. He upset world No 10 and second seed Del Potro in the second round 6-2, 6-4.
“Del Potro was my idol growing up,” said Tiafoe. “It was tough day conditions with the wind today. With all the rain delays this week it was driving me nuts.”
Tiafoe played one other tournament this year, reaching the quarterfinals of the New York Open last week where he lost to Kevin Anderson.
Tiafoe needed just 25 minutes to take the first set when Gojowczyk sailed a forehand return long.
Tiafoe kept the pressure on in the second set, dropping to the court in joy following a second serve ace on match point. — AFP