Johnson defends Houston ATP title

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 16, 2018

This was their first meeting and Steve had to work hard to emerge as a victor, winning just one point more than his rival and suffering three breaks of serve from five opportunities he gave to Sandgren.

Sixth seed Steve Johnson overcome Tennys Sandgren 7-6 (2) 2-6 64 to effectively defend his name in an all-American last at the USA adult men's claycourt Championship in Houston on Sunday.

With AP Photos.Steve Johnson shrugged off numerous missed opportunities to beat first-time ATP Tour finalist Tennys Sandgren 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-4 to become the first player to successfully defend the U.S. Men's Clay Court title in 16 years.

Eighth-seeded Sandgren, ranked five spots behind Johnson at 56th, advanced to his first ATP final by downing Croatia's 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4).

Sandgren broke Karlovic to level at 4-4 in the opening set, denied the Croatian on a break chance in the ninth game and then dominated the tie-breaker, scoring five of the last six points.

"I'm glad to have won again here in Houston", Johnson said. A final is not like any other match, but you try to trick yourself into thinking it is.

No player had repeated in the only men's clay-court tournament in the USA since Andy Roddick won back-to-back at a different venue in 2001-02.

It's only the tournament's second all-American final since Andre Agassi prevented Roddick from claiming a third in a row in 2003. Fellow pros John Isner, Sam Querrey and Dennis Kudla will serve as groomsmen.

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