Wildcard Frances Tiafoe Wins Delray Beach Open for First ATP World Tour Title
(February 25, 2018) Twenty-year-old Frances Tiafoe, ranked 91st in the world, came into the Delray Beach Open as a wildcard and won the event on Sunday for his first career ATP World Tour tournament beating German Peter Gojowczyk 6-1, 6-4.
With the win, Tiafoe becomes the youngest American man to win an ATP World Tour title since 19-year-old Andy Roddick did it at 2002 Houston.
Before last week’s New York Open, where Tiafoe lost to the eventual champion Kevin Anderson in the quarterfinals, Tiafoe had won nine tour-level matches (9-31) and had never reached a tour-level quarter-final. But after reaching the last eight in New York and winning 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 is projected to rise to No. 61 in the ATP Rankings, just one spot off his career high when the rankings are released on Monday.
Tiafoe’s parents moved to the United States from Sierra Leone to escape the civil war. Tiafoe’s father worked as a maintenance worker at a Maryland tennis club, where Frances picked up the sport.
“I was not expecting this this week, especially with how the year started and everything,” said the man from Maryland. “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.”
“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’s streak of beating Americans was broken by Tiafoe, the German beating a trio of the winner’s countrymen – John Isner, Reilly Opelka and Steve Johnson.
“It was not my day today… But still, it was a good week for me, too,” said Gojowczyk. “I reached my career high now, 51, with this tournament. So keep looking forward.”
Childhood friends Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow celebrated their first team title, beating Nicholas Monroe and John-Patrick Smith. 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,” sock said. “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.”
“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,” said Withrow.
Sock now has nine ATP World Tour doubles titles. Sunday’s title was Withrow’s first.