Tiafoe reaches Delray Beach semifinal vs Shapovalov
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) Peter Gojowczyk of Germany has beaten the last eight American opponents he’s faced in ATP tour-level matches and will have a chance to defeat another Sunday when he faces Frances Tiafoe in the Delray Beach Open final.
The 91st-ranked Tiafoe, a wild-card recipient this week, journeyed to his first career ATP final by ousting Denis Shapovalov of Canada 7-5, 6-4 in his first career ATP semifinal Saturday night.
Earlier, the 64th-ranked Gojowczyk beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (3), 6-3.
Gojowczyk has beaten three Americans already this week: sixth-seeded John Isner in the second round, Reilly Opelka in the quarterfinals and Johnson.
”No, I don’t have something about Americans, I like you,” said Gojowczyk, laughing. ”I don’t have a preference, but maybe one more American guy.”
If counting tour and non-tour level matches, Gojowczyk has beaten the last 14 Americans he’s played since he lost the 2016 Winnetka, Illinois Challenger semifinal to none other than Tiafoe.
In the 20-year-old Tiafoe’s mind, Gojowczyk’s run against Americans needs to draw to a conclusion.
”He’s been taking out all the Americans, but I’m not going to let him take me out, though,” said a hopeful Tiafoe. ”It’s a joke. It’s got to stop. I’m going to try to shut that down.”
Tiafoe raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set before Shapovalov steadied, but the Canadian was only able to recoup one of the two service breaks he suffered.
The semifinal was Tiafoe’s second time on court on Saturday.
In the afternoon, Tiafoe finished off eighth-seeded Hyeon Chung of South Korea 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 on an eighth match point in a rain-delayed quarterfinal. Tiafoe failed to take advantage of three match points Friday night before the match was stopped.
Gojowczyk said he saw a number of the student survivors from last week’s mass shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the crowd during his match.
The tournament invited any student from the school to attend the tennis on Saturday.
Gojowczyk won his first career title as a qualifier at the Metz, France, tournament last year.
Gojowczyk served up an ace on his first set point at 6-3 in the first set tiebreaker.
Gojowczyk double-faulted to go down 30-40 in the fifth game of the second set, but saved that one break point he faced in the match.
He broke Johnson’s serve on a second break point in the eighth game of the second set when the American sailed a forehand long.
”It was a great match from myself,” Gojowczyk said. ”It’s just a great week for me here.”