American Frances Tiafoe made his breakthrough on Sunday at the Delray Beach Open, winning his first career title after cruising past unseeded Peter Gojowczyk 6-1, 6-4.
The 20 year old became the youngest American to win an ATP title since 19-year-old Andy Roddick at 2002 Houston. He also became the first-ever wildcard to raise the trophy in Delray Beach.
“I was not expecting this week, especially with how the year started and everything,” Tiafoe said. “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 had prior to the week never reached a tour quarterfinal, and during the week toppled former US Open winner Juan Martin del Potro and this year’s Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung.
Gojowczyk looked to take down Tiafoe after being an American-killer all week, downing John Isner, Reilly Opelka and Steve Johnson. The German had his left hamstring wrapped trailing 0-5 in the first set.
“I was a little bit handicapped today…it was like a needle in the muscle,” Gojowczyk said. “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.”
The 28-year-old German improved fell to 1-1 in career finals, last year winning at Metz on indoor hardcourts.
On match point Tiafoe unleashed a second-serve ace.
“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,” Tiafoe said.
He is projected to rise to No. 61 on the ATP rankings.
“I’m still nowhere near playing [my best],” he said. “I feel like there’s so many things I can work on, so many things I can get better.”
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