Fourth-seeded American Andy Roddick shrugged off a slow start to surge to a three-set victory over Gilles Muller on Sunday in the final of the ATP Atlanta Open.
Roddick defeated the left-hander from Luxembourg 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, claiming his second title of 2012 after his victory last month in the Wimbledon warm-up event at Eastbourne in England.
Muller, seeking a first career ATP crown, broke Roddick twice in the opening set, after which the 29-year-old American called for a trainer and had treatment on his right shoulder.
It seemed to help, and Roddick didn't face a break point in the second set. He finished with 18 aces, just shy of Muller's 20.
"I know by now the score of a set is irrelevant," Roddick said of his ability to stay positive even after the lopsided first frame. "Whether it's 7-6 or 6-1, it still counts the same.
Muller, trailing 5-6 in the second and serving to force a tiebreaker, delivered two of his 10 double faults as he fell into a 0-40 hole.
He saved four set points in the game to knot the set at 6-6, but quickly fell behind in the ensuing tiebreaker as Roddick forced a third set.
From that point on, Roddick was rolling. He broke Muller twice in the third to take a 5-2 lead and sealed the victory with a love game.
"I was able to pull out the second set and I think he might have gotten a little tired in the third," Roddick said.
He denied Muller's bid to become the first first-time winner on the ATP Tour this season.
Muller, who was playing in his first ATP final since 2005, now has three runner-up finishes on his resume.
"I played very well in the first two sets," Muller said. "At the end of the second set, I got very tight.
"I felt like I was in a position to win that match. I was too nervous to close it and then Andy started to play better. He started to return my serves and put a lot of balls in the court. And I started to miss a lot. Maybe I lost the belief in myself to win that match too quickly."