Christian Garin in action during Davis Cup qualifiers in Austria in February 2019. File/AFP
Christian Garin of Chile won the US Men's Clay Court Championship on Sunday for his first ATP World Tour title, beating Casper Ruud of Norway 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3 at River Oaks Country Club.
Nearly six years after winning the French Open Juniors title, the 22-year-old Garin finally broke through on the tour, spoiling Ruud's bid to become the first Norwegian winner.
"Casper's a really solid player," Garin said. "His forehand is getting better every day. It was a really intense match. What I did well today was to keep playing my game, every game of the match. I think I am playing my best Tennis right now."
Garin got the decisive service break for a 4-2 third-set lead when, ripping a blistering forehand approach shot, he coaxed Ruud into popping up a backhand volley he easily put away. Garin then easily served out in cool and breezy, but sunny conditions.
"I'm disappointed because it was a very close match and one break in the last set went his way," Ruud said. "I had some chances at 2-all. I tried to stay aggressive and play my game. I made a couple of unforced errors, but I can't be too disappointed because I went for winners and it was a great match overall."
Garin will crack the top 50 in the world ranking for the first time.
Simona Halep kept alive hopes of regaining the world number one ranking Sunday, beating Polona Hercog 5-7, 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 to reach the last 16 of the WTA and ATP Miami Open.
The 37-year-old Swiss can clinch a record-extending 21st major if he manages to break free of the world number one's stranglehold.
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