Peter Gojowczyk advances to the final of the Delray Beach Open
Growing up in Germany, Peter Gojowzcyk was naturally a fan of tennis great Boris Becker.
That’s what made it even more special when Becker was among the first to congratulate him for making the final of the Delray Beach Open. Gojowzcyk defeated American Steve Johnson 7-6(3), 6-3 Saturday in the semifinals. Shortly after, Becker tweeted out his applause by using Gojowzcyk’s name as the hashtag.
“I met him at Davis Cup,” Gojowzcyk said. “He’s a nice guy. Boris was my hero when I was a junior.”
Gojowzcyk will play American Frances Tiafoe in Sunday’s championship at 3 p.m. This marked the first time in the event’s 26-year history that no seeded player reached the semifinals.
“It was a great match,” Gojowczyk said. “I was trying to hit the ball clear from the beginning and give him not so much time because that’s actually my game.”
The loss ended Johnson’s attempt at his first title of the year. He hasn’t won since last April in Houston.
“I thought [Gojowczyk] played exceptional tennis,” Johnson said. “A couple of points I’d love to have changed. He came up with good stuff when he needed to come up with good stuff. He served great. I had my looks and didn’t take advantage of it. That’s tennis. The other days I took advantage of my break points and [Saturday] I didn’t.”
The performance this week was a sign Gojowczyk has finally healed from foot surgery that sidelined him for six months in 2014. At the time, he was playing the best tennis of his career and has slowly worked his way back.
“It’s not easy to come back after the operation,” Gojowzcyk said. “But, still, I’m here.”
Changing styles has also played a role in the improvement. Last year, he switched to a more aggressive approach.
“We worked on more to go to the net,” Gojowzcyk said. “I think that’s an important point because from the baseline I play aggressive. It’s not easy to play against me if I can play aggressive.”
For Gojowczyk, who is ranked No. 64, it was his eighth consecutive victory against an American in an ATP Tour match. Three of those wins have come in this tournament, including an upset of 18th-ranked John Isner in the second round.
“Everybody gets to where they are at a certain pace,” Johnson said. “He’s a good tennis player. Don’t let the ranking fool you. Anybody inside of 100, 200, they can beat anybody any day. No surprise. He’s really come out strong this year. He won’t be ranked 60 or whatever he is for much longer.”
Win or lose in the final, Gojowczyk has already made his presence felt among Tour players. Reilly Opelka called him the best player he’s faced in his career after losing to him in the quarterfinals.
Now, Gojowczyk hopes to finish the week with his second career ATP title. His last came a year ago at the Moselle Open.
“It’s just a great week for me,” Gojowczyk said. “I enjoy the time in Delray ... I love it.”
Event shows support for Douglas
Several Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students took advantage of a nice gesture offered by the Delray Beach Open. All students were allowed free admission for up to four people for Saturday’s matches. According to an event spokesperson, at least 35 tickets were used.
The school is still reeling from a Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 dead and injured several others.