JOHNSON WINS FOURTH
CAREER TITLE IN NEWPORT
Ashley Marshall | July 22, 2018
Steve Johnson won his fourth career ATP World Tour title Sunday, with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 win over Ramkumar Ramanathan in the final of the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open on the famed grass of Newport, R.I.
The triumph is Johnson's second grass-court title, following a win on the lawns of Nottingham in 2016. It takes his career tally to four trophies, joining back-to-back victories on the outdoor clay of Houston in 2017 and 2018. The American joins Roger Federer as the only other man to win titles on two different surfaces this season, according to the ATP.
The 28-year-old will climb 14 spots to No. 34 from No. 48 in the rankings and has a chance of being seeded at the US Open next month if his stellar play continues throughout the US Open Series, which gets underway in Atlanta on Monday.
On Sunday, Johnson won the 45-minute first set behind an efficient serving performance that saw him win 15 of 16 points on his first serve, even though he struggled to find his target with consistency. ADVERTISEMENT But it was enough to ensure he never faced a break point, and he capitalized on the only break point he saw on the Ramanathan serve, breaking the deadlock at 5-5 before serving out the set at the first opportunity.
World No. 161 Ramanathan responded by breaking Johnson in his second service game of the second set. He saved a break point to hold for 5-2, and he sent the championship match to a decider when he served out the second set on his third opportunity.
The Indian seemingly had the momentum, but Johnson quickly showed the value of his experience in big matches, breaking Ramanathan before consolidating for a 3-0 lead. Johnson later held for a 5-2 advantage to move one game from the title, but he never needed to have the ball on the racquet after he broke Ramanathan to clinch the victory on his first championship point.
Johnson reached Sunday's final on the strength of three consecutive straight-sets wins over Christian Harrison, Dudi Sela and Marcel Granollers.
Since winning his second U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship in April, Johnson has had mixed results on tour, including a first-round loss at Wimbledon and a third-round defeat at Roland Garros.
Johnson has few points to defend the rest of the summer, having lost in the second round of Washington, the first round of Montreal and Cincinnati and the second round of the US Open.