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Tennis: Johnson captures Hall of Fame on Newport’s grass court

Steve Johnson continued his long road back and success this year by capturing the Hall of Fame Open on Sunday.

The 28-year-old American defeated Ramkumar Ramanathan, of India, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, on Newport’s grass court for his fourth career ATP title and second this season.

When it was over, Johnson pointed to the sky and pumped his fist before going over to the far corner of the court to give his coach, Craig Boynton, a handshake and hug.

“He’s seen me when I was (ranked) 200 and losing first rounds of challengers, questioning playing tennis and now he’s seen me winning titles and finals of 500s,” Johnson said. “The highs and lows, he’s stuck with it.”

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Ranked 48th coming into the week, Johnson added to his title in Houston this year. It’s been a nice rebound after he lost his father, Steve Sr. to a heart attack last year. His Dad, who had been his coach until Johnson went to college, traveled and watched him at all his tourneys.

“It’s been an emotional couple of years,” he said to the crowd during an interview at the end of the match.

Now, Johnson, who reached as high as No. 21 in the world in 2016, will be ranked 34th beginning the week.

Cecchinato wins Croatia Open for 2nd title

Third-seeded Marco Cecchinato further elevated his breakthrough year by winning the Croatia Open final on Sunday, beating Guido Pella of Argentina 6-2, 7-6 (4) in their first meeting.

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The 25-year-old Italian recovered from 4-2 down in the second set on outdoor red clay.

Cecchinato won his first ATP title in April in Budapest, as a lucky loser, then knocked out Novak Djokovic en route to the French Open semifinals. He was the first Italian male Grand Slam semifinalist in 40 years.

Cecchinato is at a career-high ranking of 27, and will rise to No. 22 on Monday.

The unseeded Pella was playing in his first career final.

Clay-loving Fognini beats Gasquet in Swedish Open final

Fabio Fognini won his second ATP title this year after beating Richard Gasquet 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the Swedish Open final on Sunday.

The third-seeded Italian clinched his seventh title overall, all of them on outdoor clay.

No. 4 Gasquet was also going for his second ATP title of 2018.

Fognini won the Brazil Open in March, and Gasquet won on grass at s-Hertogenbosch last month, the Frenchman’s 15th title.

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Fognini won five straight games in the opening set after conceding the first break of the match. Three straight double-faults let Fognini down in the second set as Gasquet went on to force the decider. Fognini won with his fourth championship point as Gasquet’s forehand went long.

Top-seeded Cornet beats Minella in Gstaad clay-court final

Top-seeded Alize Cornet of France won her sixth career title by beating Mandy Minella of Luxembourg 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the Ladies’ Championship Gstaad final on Sunday.

Minella, playing in her first final on tour at age 32, was seeking to become the third mother to win a WTA singles title in the past year.

The 48th-ranked Cornet did not drop a set all week in the Swiss Alps clay-court event to win her first title since January 2016, at the Hobart International in Australia.

Cornet won five of the 20 break points she held against the 226th-ranked Minella. The 28-year-old Frenchwoman clinched the first set with a drop-shot winner, and saved two set points in the second-set tiebreaker.

Sevastova returns to win Bucharest Open final

Two years after being thrashed by Simona Halep in the Bucharest Open final, top-seeded Anastasija Sevastova returned to win the title in straight sets on Sunday.

Sevastova prevailed 7-6 (4), 6-2 on clay over fourth-seeded Petra Martic of Croatia, who was playing in her second career WTA final, six years after losing her first.

Sevastova had 30 winners and 28 unforced errors as she won her third singles title.

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“I played one of my best matches here,” the Latvian said. Sevastova failed to win a single game in the 2016 final against Halep. She advanced to Sunday’s final when her semifinal opponent Polona Hercog retired hurt after Sevastova had won the first set.


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