Taylor Fritz was on course for an eight-set sweep en route to the Delray Beach Open title. Instead, the American needed to dig deep in a final set after missing out on a championship point against Miomir Kecmanovic in Sunday's final.
The top seed and World No. 7 was up to the challenge in a 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 win for his fifth ATP Tour title and first of 2023. Four of those trophies have come in the past 12 months, beginning with Fritz's Indian Wells triumph last March, as documented on Netflix's Break Point.
"My first time back here in quite a while and the event was amazing," said Fritz, who was competing at the ATP 250 for the sixth time, with his previous appearance coming in 2020. "The fans especially, the turnout was incredible and it makes me really proud to be an American playing at a home event, with how many people were in the stands."
"This year was incredible after losing in the first and second round [almost] every single year I'd been here. I couldn't be happier with coming back and having this result."
Fritz was dominant on serve in the final, losing just two points on his first delivery (35/37) and allowing just one break point, which Kecmanovic converted late in the second set. He was aggressive off both baseline wings and finished with 43 total winners to go along with his 10 aces.
After racing through the first seven games of the match, Fritz was on the brink of victory with a pair of break points at 4-3 and a match point at 5-4 in the second set. But Kecmanovic broke from 40/15 in the 11th game of the set to force a decider, handing the American his first lost set of the week.
With the support of the Delray Beach crowd, Fritz settled the nerves with a love hold to open the final set, then regained control of the contest with a break to lead 3-1. His fifth break of the match closed out the win just shy of the two-hour mark.
Now 5-5 in tour-level finals, Fritz has won his past four title matches (Indian Wells, Eastbourne, Tokyo, Delray Beach). He is the first Top 10 champion in the 31-year history of the Delray Beach event.
Kecmanovic, who earned his 100th tour-level win by beating Radu Albot on Saturday, was playing in his third ATP Tour final, with all three coming on different surfaces. He earned a personal-best 38 wins in 2022 and is set to return to the Top 30 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday after reaching his first final of 2023.
The Delray Beach Open set a new attendance record this week, with an American in the final for the eighth time in the past nine editions of the event.