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Tommy Paul wins the Queens title and becomes number 1 in American men's tennis

Tommy Paul wins the Queens title and becomes number 1 in American men's tennis
Tommy Paul wins the Queens title and becomes number 1 in American men's tennis


Tommy Paul becomes US men's tennis No. 1 for the first time in his career on Monday after beating Italian Lorenzo Musetti to win the Queens title in London.

Paul, currently ranked 13, will replace compatriot Taylor Fritz as world number 12 following his 6-1, 7-6(8) victory over world number 30 Musetti, who himself will rise to number 25 on Monday.

His energetic, on-the-spot moves and moments of deception overwhelmed Musetti in the first set. Paul first took a 3-0 and then a 5-1 lead, at times looking as if he was floating over the grass, a surface on which he had never won a title before. It looked as if he had broken the back of the match when he broke Musetti and promptly held serve to advance 5-3, but the Italian rallied impressively to hit a stunning backhand return winner down the line to break back and level the match. 5-5.

Paul used his forehand to control the pace of the match. (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

He then took a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak as Paul made an error in his execution for the first time all match, but the American recovered by restoring the inside-out forehand-to-backhand pattern that had him helped win the first set. so comfortable. Musetti had managed to weaken that attack route with his formidable slice and his ability to consistently and accurately block service returns on both wings, but Paul was able to reintroduce it when it mattered, even after hitting a regular smash at 4- 4 had missed after a catastrophe. -and-mouse point.

This is the third and biggest ATP Tour title of the 27-year-old's career, having previously won two ATP 250 events in Stockholm and Dallas. He will now look more confidently ahead to Wimbledon on July 1 and make a deep run, hoping to build on a semi-final appearance at the 2023 Australian Open, which is his best Grand Slam result to date.

What this title means to Paul

Paul grew up in North Carolina and Florida and was always by far the best American in his age group, the so-called 97s (their age group year), which also included Paul, Frances Tiafoe, Reilly Opelka and Fritz. Fritz was by far the worst of them all.

And over the next ten years, everything got mixed up. Paul struggled with motivation issues. So did Tiafoe, after a meteoric rise to the top 30. Opelka, who stands almost 7 feet tall, blew people away with his serve but struggled to try to get a ground game involved and then succumbed to injuries he also had. still fighting for his way back. As for Fritz, he worked his way into the top 10 and has been the top American for the past two years.

But ten years later, what was old became new again on Sunday when Paul won the Cinch Championship at the Queens Club, beating Musetti in the final for the biggest win of his career. It was Paul's second title of the season, which is shaping up to be the best of his career. He won the Dallas Open in February, reached the Indian Wells semifinals in March and the Italian Open semifinals in May. When the new rankings are announced on Monday, Paul will claim number 12, one step ahead of Fritz and two ahead of Ben Shelton.

Paul has been quite open about where his journey took a wrong turn. He turned pro too early, he says, shortly after winning the junior title at the French Open in 2015. Simply put, he wasn't ready, and he had a few years of maturing at the University of Georgia, which he always wanted to do. intended, instead of learning the hard way how hard professional tennis players have to work to climb the rankings.

Now 27, Paul heads to Wimbledon hoping to make a deep run on the grass, a surface on which he is still finding his feet. He has played deep at a Grand Slam before, reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 2022, but he has not advanced past the fourth round anywhere else. In 2022 he reached the last sixteen at Wimbledon.

Like many others, Paul will likely go as far as his serve takes him onto the grass. He can sometimes serve in the mid-thirties and follow that up with big forehands from the baseline, and an increasingly aggressive game where he gets many more points at the net than he used to. Now it's just a matter of putting everything into the grandeur of the All England Club, with the eyes of his country looking for big things from the new top American. Matthew Futterman, tennis staff writer

Pegula triumphs in Berlin

Paul's compatriot Jessica Pegula also won her first title on the grass court on Sunday after beating US women's No. 1 and doubles partner Coco Gauff in their rain-affected semi-final in Berlin that morning.

Pegula only needed to win four more points after the match resumed at 7-5, 6-6 (3-1).

In the final, the world number 5 saved five championship points against Russia's Anna Kalinskaya and won 6-7 (0-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-3), after winning 4-1 in the deciding set was behind. Pegula skipped the French Open, despite feeling playing was possible, to focus on the upcoming grass-court season, and the decision already appears to be paying off.

(Photo: Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images)




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