New York: Kevin Anderson captured his seventh career ATP title on Sunday, defeating 20-year-old American Jenson Brooksby 7-6 (10/8), 6-4 to win the Hall of Fame Open.
The 35-year-old South African won his first crown on grass at the Newport, Rhode Island, event and his first on any surface since 2019 at Pune, India.
World number 113 Anderson, a wildcard entrant after losing to eventual winner Novak Djokovic in the second round at Wimbledon, is expected to jump to 74th in the rankings with the title.
“Thank you to the tournament for giving me a wildcard. It really worked out for me,” Anderson said. “It has definitely motivated me to keep going.”
Anderson underwent right knee surgery in February 2020 and has battled back for nearly 18 months to collect more hardware.
“This has been a fantastic week. This is as good as it gets,” Anderson said.
Brooksby, ranked 152nd but set to reach a career-high 126th, reached his first ATP final in only his third tour-level main draw.
He was the second-youngest finalist in the event’s 45-year history, the youngest being Britain’s Greg Rusedski at age 19 in 1993.
“I hope to be back here again and pushing for more,” Brooksby said.
Brooksby saved break points in the fourth game, when Anderson netted a forehand and with an ace, and held to 2-2. Anderson denied Brooksby on three break chances to reach a tie-breaker, the last of them in the 11th game.
In the tie-break, Brooksby made a drop volley winner and service winner for a 5-2 lead, but Anderson answered with two service winners and a overhead smash to pull level.
Brooksby hit a forehand crosscourt winner to grab an 8-7 edge but Anderson responded with a forehand winner, then fired his ninth ace and captured the first set after 79 minutes with a backhand down the line service return winner.
In the second set, Anderson broke in the opening game and held from there to claim the crown after two hours and 11 minutes.