American World No. 38 Steve Johnson has won his first ATP World Tour singles title after beating Uruguayan second seed Pablo Cuevas 7-6(5) 7-5 at the Aegon Open Nottingham, where Brit Dom Inglot and Daniel Nestor also claimed their maiden doubles crown as a pairing on Saturday.
No. 6 seed Johnson, who also reached the quarter-finals at the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club last week, dropped only one set throughout the tournament and ousted top seed Kevin Anderson en route to victory at the Nottingham Tennis Centre.
The 26-year-old becomes the second consecutive Aegon Open champion to win a maiden ATP World Tour title in Nottingham after Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin did so in 2015.
“This is definitely the highlight of my career so far, no doubt,” Johnson said. “It feels really good. I’ve had some ups and downs so far this year, some rough patches, and to find my groove here on the grass has been fantastic.
“I had a good week at Queen’s last week and felt pretty comfortable on the grass before coming here. I won the Challenger here in 2013 that got me into Wimbledon for the first time, so Nottingham has a soft spot in my heart.”
Johnson, who lost out to Spaniard David Ferrer after being a set up in his only other ATP World Tour final in Vienna last year, added: “Any time you can be the last guy standing at a tournament, it gives you lots of confidence. I’ve probably tried 80 times and this is the first time I’ve come out a winner, so it’s definitely a great feeling. I’m super happy and pretty tired emotionally – just from stopping and starting in the last couple of days.
“I’ll sleep well tonight and then on Monday comes Wimbledon, so there’s no time to relax. There’s another big tournament right around the corner.”
Johnson goes on to face Tunisian World No. 60 Malek Jaziri in first round of The Championships, Wimbledon next week.
Earlier in the day, Davis Cup-winning squad member Inglot and Canadian veteran Nestor lifted their first trophy together in only their second event as a pair, after they took down top seeds Marcelo Melo and Ivan Dodig 7-5 7-6(4) in a rain-interrupted final.
The second seeds dropped a match point at 7-5 5-4 moments before play was suspended due to rain, but managed to close it out in dominant fashion to record Nestor’s 89th career ATP World Tour title and Inglot’s second on home soil.
Inglot, 30, said: “It doesn’t get much tougher than playing these guys, so to get a win, against that calibre of team before Wimbledon, was a big confidence-booster.
“We did well to hang in there, especially after the match point and coming out after the rain delay. We came out very fast and that was big for us.”
Nestor, who is the only doubles player to have won over 1000 matches on the Tour, added: “It’s important to get matches in before a big tournament like next week and that was our goal before coming here. It’s great that we were able to do that, and we feel a lot better about our game heading into Wimbledon now.
“We have a tough draw, but we beat some very good teams here and there’s no reason why we can’t do the same there. This was a great tune-up before Wimbledon.”
Relive all the Aegon Open Nottingham action and reaction by visiting the Aegon Open website
AEGON OPEN NOTTINGHAM – NOTTINGHAM, GBR
19-25 JUNE 2016
RESULTS – JUNE 25, 2016
Men’s Singles – Final
 S. Johnson (USA) d  P. Cuevas (URU) 76(5) 75
Men’s Doubles – Final
 D. Inglot (GBR) / D. Nestor (CAN) d  I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) 75 76(4)
2017 Grass Court Tournament Calendar
Earlier this year the LTA announced exciting changes to the three week 2017 grass court tournament calendar. Nottingham will host a combined men’s and women’s tour-level tournament in the same week for the first time in 44 years. The pre-existing ATP 250 tournament will move back to Eastbourne, merging with the WTA Premier Aegon International to form a combined event (as it was from 2009-2014) featuring the following format: a 28-player main draw men’s event and 48-player main draw for the women staged across nine days. Other changes include a doubling of prize money at the Aegon Trophy Series (ATP Challenger & ITF Women’s Pro Circuit) creating the highest value circuit at this level in world tennis.
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