Tiafoe makes first ATP World Tour final

Frances Tiafoe 2018 AO

Delray Beach Open, Florida (USA)

Men’s Semifinal: [51] Steve Johnson (USA) vs. [64] Peter Gojowczyk (GER)

Their first meeting and it was not a memorable one for Johnson. The first set was very competitive and Johnson pushed Gojowczyk to a tiebreak. Unfortunately, in a tiebreak one error can be costly and before he blinked, he had made a few and lost the set.

The stats were telling, for the match, the German served less than fifty percent and still won the match. Johnson faltered on his second serve and we have all heard the saying, “you are only as good as your second serve”. Gojowczyk won 7-6(3), 6-3 and will contest the second final of his career.

 

Men’s Semifinal: [46] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) vs. [91] Frances Tiafoe (USA)

This was also a first time encounter; however, unlike the previous semifinal, the contestants are vying for the NextGen Finals in Milan at the end of the season. The Canadian has a much better winning percentage than the American; thus, I was curious to see how Tiafoe would handle the occasion. After all, the American was older and much has been expected from him for quite a while now.

Would the pressure of home crowd negatively impact his game? I was impressed by his positive demeanor the entire match. Even when he dropped serve after taking a two break lead in the second set, Tiafoe remained very calm and focused. The pressure of serving for his first ATP World Tour final did not faze him either. The American showcased the all-round improvements in his game with some deft touch and his power game was still very much in evidence.

Shapovalov’s backhand broke down and the frustration of not being able to get the returns consistently in play from his backhand side finally got to him. Tiafoe won 7-5, 6-4.

 

SOURCE OF IMAGE:  Zimbio.com (Michael Dodge/Getty Images AsiaPac: Frances Tiafoe)

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