Steve Johnson Notches Maiden Title in Nottingham
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
American Steve Johnson captured his first ever ATP title and improved to 1-1 in career ATP finals with a 7-6 7-5 victory over Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas. Johnson showed great grass court ability in Nottingham and set himself up as a potential Wimbledon dark horse with wins over John Millman, Vasek Pospisil, Kevin Anderson, and Andreas Seppi, along with the title over surprise finalist Cuevas. Only the match against the top seed Anderson went the distance.
Cuevas was bidding to be the first South American player to win a grass court title in 20 years, as wins over Stephane Robert, Daniel Evans, Marcos Baghdatis, and Gilles Muller were inspiring and gutsy, but he simply appeared to be fatigued by the final, as all but Robert pushed him to the full three sets. In Baghdatis and Muller, Cuevas upset accomplished grass court veterans, and showed an all-court game that few thought he had in him. Prior to this season, Cuevas had played just 10 career matches on grass, and had a sub .500 record in those matches.
Dominic Inglot and Daniel Nestor defeated Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo in the doubles final, as the Canadian and the Brit demonstrated their grass court experience and skill.