Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Emotional Johnson Repeats as ATP Houston Champion

Emotional Johnson Repeats as ATP Houston Champion

Defending champion Steve Johnson wore down Taylor Fritz 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-2 on Saturday, breaking his 20-year-old countryman twice in the third set after letting two match points slip away in the second in the U.S. Men's Clay Court semifinals.

Johnson was off to a flawless start, losing four points in the opening five service games and creating four break points in games four and six to keep the pressure on Tennys.

With the win, world No.51 Johnson secured his third ATP Tour title and became the first repeat victor of the US Men's Clay Court Championship since Andy Roddick in 2002. Johnson couldn't keep his focus after wasting so many chances and Tennys broke him in games six and eight, closing the set with his second break at 5-2 and a forehand error from Johnson, sending the match into a decider. 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 US since Andy Roddick won back-to-back at a different venue in 2001-02.

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The US sixth seed will play for his third ATP title and second in a row on Houston clay against American eighth seed Tennys Sandgren, who made a stunning run to the Australian Open quarter-finals in January.

Steve Johnson repeated as the victor at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. "I'll go home, take a few days to relax, go golf a little bit in Palm Springs".

Whilst the Americans every exchanged a break in a back-and-forth starting place that Johnson eventually maintained in a tiebreak, Sandgren, that appeared from the first ATP singles last of his livelihood, was all set for battle.

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