Instead of Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, Steve Johnson wins only Indian Wells event

Tennis - Masters 1000 tournament in Indian Wells is canceled, with Steve Johnson winning the Challenger at the Indian Well Tennis Garden

by Jovica Ilic
Instead of Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, Steve Johnson wins only Indian Wells event

Due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, the first Masters 1000 of the season in Indian Wells will not take place in the next two weeks, preventing the world's leading players from fighting for the title and 1000 points.

Last week, a Challenger took place on the smaller courts of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, with Steve Johnson winning the second title of the season and the seventh overall, beating Jack Sock 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 29 minutes.

Ranked 768th, Jack Sock played the first notable tournament since the quarter-final at Paris Masters at the end of 2018, earning nice points but failing to go all the way and lift the trophy after squandering all seven break chances.

On the other hand, Steve converted one break chance in each set to cross the finish line and take home 125 ATP points. Sock forced an error from Johnson to bring the first game home at love, creating a break chance in game two with a backhand crosscourt winner.

Steve repelled it with a forehand crosscourt winner and secured the game with an ace to level the score at 1-1. The younger player forced another mistake from his compatriot in game three before Johnson found the rhythm on the return at 2-2, firing a forehand down the line winner to grab a break and move 3-2 in front.

The better-ranked player confirmed the break with a smash winner in game six before Sock created another break chance at 3-4 following a lucky net cord. Staying focused, Johnson erased it with a service winner and landed another one to close the game and move 5-3 up.

Serving for the set in the tenth game, Johnson fended off two break points and experienced more troubles before finally closing it with a forehand winner for a 6-4. Jack lost the ground in those moments, netting an easy forehand to suffer a break at love in the first game of the second set, with Steve holding after deuce to cement the advantage and move closer to the finish line.

Sock received a medical timeout after the third game and earned two break chances at 2-3, with a massive opportunity to get back on the positive side of the scoreboard. Johnson saved both with winners and fired another one to secure the game and open a 4-2 advantage, sealing the deal with a hold at love at 5-4 to lift his seventh Challenger crown and earn valuable points, especially in the current situation and with no Indian Wells Masters 1000 event on display.

Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic Steve Johnson