Christian Garin wins U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship

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Chile's Christian Garin hits a return shot. (Darren Calabrese/CP)

HOUSTON — Christian Garin of Chile won the U.S. 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.

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