Steve Johnson repeated as the winner at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship on Sunday, beating fellow American and ATP final debutante Tennys Sandgren 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-4.
The 28-year-old American teared-up after match point, claiming the title roughly a year after the passing of his father.
Johnson became the first American to go back-to-back in Houston since Andy Roddick in 2001-02.
The 26-year-old Sandgren, who broke out by reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January, broke down mentally in the last few games of the third set, loudly admonishing himself.
Serving for the match, Johnson erased a break point, then broke on his first match point.
Johnson will marry longtime girlfriend Kendall Bateman on Saturday. Sandgren will break into the Top 50 on the ATP rankings for the first time.
Johnson is the first player to win the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship title by defeating five consecutive American opponents since Jaime Yzaga of Peru in 1991 when the tournament was held in Charlotte. He improved to 3-1 in career finals.
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