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ATP Tennis Newsflash • Tiafoe Wins First Career Title • Triumphs In Delray Beach, Khachanov And Schwartzman Also Capture Titles

Another great tournament in the books! See you next year #DBO2018 – Photo by @DelrayBeachOpenvia Twitter.



By Ricky Dimon


Having never previously advanced to an ATP semifinal and never previously reached a quarterfinal prior to last week’s New York, Frances Tiafoe won his first career title at the Delray Beach Open on Sunday. Tiafoe cruised past two-time ATP runner-up Peter Gojowyczk 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and one minute.


The fast-rising American had no trouble against Gojowyczk, who struggled with a hamstring injury throughout the match. Tiafoe double-faulted seven times, but it did not matter because he fired 13 aces and won 89 percent of his first-serve points.


“I was not expecting this this week, especially with how the year started [slowly],” said Tiafoe. “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 (also) my family, it’s an unbelievable place to be in and I hope to just go only forward. I’m just happy there’s quite a lot of us (up-and-coming Americans); I feel like I’m not alone in this process at all. And I’m still nowhere near playing [my best]. I feel like there’s so many things I can work on–so many things I can get better (at).”


One year older than Tiafoe at 21, Karen Khachanov continues to get better and better and has climbed to 41st in the rankings with his second ATP title at the Open 13. Khachanov outlasted Lucas Pouille 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 after one hour and 49 minutes.


With Pouille serving to stay alive at 5-6, 30-40 in the third, Khachanov missed a championship point that he should have capitalized on when he sent an overhead wide. The Russian, however, converted his next chance thanks to a netted forehand by Pouille.


“It is the second title in my career, so I am extremely happy,” Khachanov commented. “I just need to keep working and keep going. I felt I was playing good here from the first day. It’s nice to play on a full court in the final and I hope to come back next year.”


“It was a good week,” added Pouille, who joked during the trophy presentation that Khachanov–because he won–would not have to pay for their plane flight to Dubai. “Karen is a young player who will be top 20 soon. Congrats to him. Overall it was a great match. Another final is always positive. I hope that I can continue to play well in the next few weeks.”


Diego Schwartzman and Fernando Verdasco will also be heading to another tournament next week, as they move from the red clay of the Rio Open to the hard courts of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco. In their Rio final on Sunday, Schwartzman cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 victory. The Argentine secured his second ATP title after one hour and 23 minutes, soaring to a career-high ranking of No. 18.


“I never thought before the week that I [was] going to be here with the trophy,” Schwartzman noted. “It’s an amazing week for me. Everything was perfect; every match, every set was perfect for me–playing my best tennis. I am really happy and trying to enjoy (it)…(but) in a few hours I take a plane (to Acapulco).


“For me it was important today to put many balls on the court, trying to be focused on every point. I think [Verdasco] was a little bit tired [at] the end of the second set and for me it was important because I was fresh.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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