(Reuters) - Alex de Minaur was again near-perfect on serve in claiming his second ATP title with a 6-3 7-6(2) win over American Taylor Fritz at the Atlanta Open on Sunday.
De Minaur, 20, went the entire tournament without facing a break point, and the Australian fittingly clinched victory with a deft serve-and-volley backhand winner.
It is the second title for third seed De Minaur, who won the Sydney International in January before being set back by a groin injury.
“This one is really special to me. I felt like I really needed this,” he said after becoming the event’s youngest champion.
“To start the year with a bang and then be slowed down by injuries ... you expect your level to be right there once you come back, but you have to slowly grind your way back.”
De Minaur has had a testing northern summer.
He lost in the second round at both the French Open and Wimbledon, the latter in a tough five-setter against American Steve Johnson, and arrived in Atlanta ranked 34th in the world.
He will leave town brimming with confidence as he sets his sights on the U.S. Open that starts late next month.
“I’ve been playing great tennis and felt like if I could keep it all together, the good results will come,” he said.
“I don’t think I could start the American hardcourt season any better than this.”
Fritz said he was beaten by a better man on the day.
“It’s so good to see him back playing good tennis after struggling with injuries,” he said.
“He played really well and I just needed to up it even more if I wanted to win.
“It hurts so much to lose a final but I’m still confident and will keep moving forward.”
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Toby Davis / Ian Ransom