Atlanta, Georgia: Fourth-seeded American Andy Roddick shrugged off a slow start to rally to a three-set victory over Gilles Muller in the final of the ATP Atlanta Open on Sunday.
Roddick defeated the left-hander from Luxembourg 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, claiming his second title of 2012 after his victory last month in the Wimbledon warm-up event at Eastbourne in England.
Muller, seeking a first career ATP crown, broke Roddick twice in the opening set, after which the 29-year-old American called for a trainer and had treatment on his right shoulder.
It seemed to help, and Roddick didn’t face a break point in the second set. He finished with 18 aces, just shy of Muller’s 20.
“I know by now the score of a set is irrelevant,” Roddick said of his ability to stay positive even after the lopsided first frame. “Whether it’s 7-6 or 6-1, it still counts the same.
Muller, trailing 5-6 in the second and serving to force a tiebreaker, delivered two of his 10 double faults as he fell into a 0-40 hole.
He saved four set points in the game to tie the set at 6-6, but quickly fell behind in the ensuing tiebreaker as Roddick forced a third set.
From that point on, Roddick was rolling. He broke Muller twice in the third to take a 5-2 lead and sealed the victory with a love game.
“I was able to pull out the second set and I think he might have gotten a little tired in the third,” Roddick said.
He denied Muller’s bid to become the first maiden winner on the ATP Tour this season.
Muller, who was playing in his first ATP final since 2005, now has three runner-up finishes on his resume.
“I played very well in the first two sets,” Muller said. “At the end of the second set, I got very tight.
“I felt like I was in a position to win that match. I was too nervous to close it and then Andy started to play better. He started to return my serves and put a lot of balls in the court. And I started to miss a lot. Maybe I lost the belief in myself to win that match too quickly.”