HOUSTON (AP) — Fourth-seeded Steve Johnson beat top-seeded Jack Sock 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday in an all-American semifinal in the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship.
Johnson won his lone ATP Tour title last year on grass at Nottingham in England. He will face eighth-seeded Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil, a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 winner over American Ernesto Escobedo.
“I just got lucky in the end,” said the 27-year-old Johnson, a two-time national collegiate champion at the University of Southern California. “He missed some first serves and a couple forehands, which is abnormal for him, and I just took my chances and was able to get it. This is great, my first final on U.S. soil. It’s fun to give myself a chance.”
A week ago, Sock and Johnson were on the same side, coming up short together in a losing effort by the U.S. Davis Cup team in the quarterfinals against Australia.
“Whomever I’m playing, it’s business,” said Johnson, who had dropped four of his five previous ATP World Tour matches against Sock. “That’s sports. You’re going to play guys you’re buddies with. You’ve got to put it aside and go about…