Taylor Fritz capped a perfect return to North American hard courts Sunday by winning the Atlanta Open for his second tour-level title of the season.
In his first tournament on home soil since March, the top seed Fritz downed Australian Aleksandar Vukic 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-4 in the final to lift the ATP 250 trophy. Despite letting slip two championship points on return at 6-5 in the second set, Fritz held his nerve to close the two-hour, 16-minute clash in a deciding set.
"I've played this tournament five times before and [made] the semis [in 2021] and final [in 2019]. I feel like I've always been close so it's nice, I don't think I could've handled another loss in the final," Fritz said. "It feels really good to get the job done."
World No. 9 Fritz relied on his hefty serve and first-strike to tennis to be crowned champion at the hard-court event, where he was broken just once all tournament. The 25-year-old won 84 per cent of his first-serve points Sunday and struck his groundstrokes with conviction and consistency to seal victory.
A pivotal moment came when Fritz earned triple break point at 3-3 in the decider by showing great defence to win a 27-shot rally.
"I felt like today it was like, 'I'm here to win it and I'd be absolutely devastated with a final result'. Even though a lot of times, being in the final, I'm happy with that," Fritz said.
Fritz, who also triumphed in Delray Beach earlier this year, has won six tour-level titles, three of which have came in his home country.
"I just felt so at home and welcomed in Atlanta this week," Fritz said. "I've been coming back here for so many years, so I'm happy to finally get the title. All week, the support was amazing. I'm not from Atlanta, but it felt like I was because the support was just crazy all week long and it felt great."
Fritz rose to ninth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin as a result of his standout week in Atlanta. The American No. 1 is aiming to return to the Nitto ATP Finals, where he was a semi-finalist last year as an alternate.
Vukic, 27, was competing in his maiden tour-level final. The former University of Illinois standout ousted three seeded players in Atlanta and will rise 20 spots to a new career-high No. 62 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday.
"Overall, if someone would have told me that I would make the final here, I would have signed it 1,000 times," Vukic said. "It's always bittersweet losing, but you have to take the positives from it, learn from it and keep going."