Tennis: Steve Johnson digs deep to grind out Houston clay court victory

HOUSTON (REUTERS) - American Steve Johnson literally limped to a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 (7-5) victory over Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci in the final of the US Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston on Sunday.

Johnson, suffering from cramp in his left leg, could hardly move at times late in the third set, hobbling on some points and not even chasing down balls on others.

But the world No. 29 prevailed in the final set tiebreak, clinching the win with a forehand groundstroke down the line for his second ATP victory.

Johnson said he was simply worn down after flying back from a Davis Cup tie in Australia earlier in the week.

"My body has just physically run out of gas after this week," he said on the ATP website.

"Coming in from Australia kind of put me behind the eight ball, and then the nerves of trying to close out the final, a lot of factors go into cramping. I was very fortunate to get out of that."