Johnson Reigns Supreme In Houston

US Men’s Clay Court Championship

Men’s Final: [29] Steve Johnson (USA) vs. [65] Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)

This was their second meeting, but their first on clay.  Although the odds favored the veteran clay court player, Bellucci, one cannot underestimate the benefit of playing on home soil.  This was the third career final for Johnson and he was hoping to leave with his second career title.  Bellucci was in his eighth final and was hoping to leave with his fifth career title. It is interesting how the pressure mounts when a title is at stake and even after winning the first one, for some players it does not seem to get any more comfortable trying to win the next.  Both players were nervous and there was some see sawing in the first set until Johnson got control and won it.


Bellucci was not going to go down without a fight though and found his game in the second set and with a little help from Johnson he won that to force a decider.  Bellucci took the early lead in the third; however, he has been struggling with his confidence and it was tested today.  He could not hold on to the lead, perhaps doubts crept in and distracted him.  Johnson did not fold after losing the second set and going down the early break in the third; he showed his mental fortitude to fight through and believed when things were not going his way.


It was only fitting that the third set went to a tiebreaker and Johnson took control early.  He hung on to win the breaker and the match 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5).  Johnson claimed his second career title and valuable ranking points that will propel him closer to the top twenty.


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