Two years ago, Tennys Sandgren was ranked just outside the top-200, with his name being more interesting than his game. Now, the 27-year-old American has come on the verge of the top-40 following his maiden ATP title in Auckland, defeating Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 18 minutes for his most significant success on the Tour, previously losing the final in Houston last April.
Tennys was not among the favorites at the ASB Classic but he overpowered all the rivals to go all the way and lift his first trophy on the main level, beating Philipp Kohlschreiber yesterday and doing the same against the opponent who grew up in Auckland and who feels pretty much at home there.
Tennys delivered more effective numbers behind his first serve and that made the crucial difference, paired with the fact he repelled four out of five break points he faced to mount the pressure on the other side of the net.
The young Briton played some impressive tennis to reach his first ATP final but that wasn't enough today, losing more than 40% of the points in his games and having to play against 12 break chances, suffering four breaks to finish runner-up.
Cameron sent a backhand long in the opening game to lose the serve, which is never a good sign, facing two more break points next time he served. He saved both to stay within one break deficit and he erased the shortage in the very next game when he broke Tennys with a strong forehand attack that the American failed to control.
Anyway, his serve wasn't there like in the opening four matches, hitting a double fault at 2-2 to hand another break to Sandgren who hit a service winner in game eight to save a break point and move 5-3 up. Serving for the set in the 10th game, Tennys sealed the opener with two winners after 40 minutes and this gave him a massive boost of confidence before set number two.
There, he stole Norrie's serve in game three after a poor forehand from a left-handed Briton who squandered the opportunity to get the break back at 2-3 following a well-constructed attack from Sandgren. The American forged an even bigger lead when he broke in game seven after a loose backhand from Cameron and he saved a break point in the next game before crossing the finish line with another unreturned serve that propelled him towards the ATP title.
Tennys Sandgren (USA) vs Cameron Norrie (GBR) 6-4 6-2