Steve Johnson and Tennys Sandgren set up all-American final

Steve Johnson remains on track to successfully defend his US Men’s Clay Court Championship title.

The American, who is looking to become the first back-to-back champion in Houston since Andy Roddick in 2002, required two hours and 22 minutes to see off his compatriot Taylor Fritz 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2.

“I’m happy to be back in the final,” Johnson said. “This court has a lot of special memories for me. I’m happy to be in another final and get a title tomorrow. It was windy and gusty today and the shadows were moving in. I was able to find the break early in the third and that made the big difference.”

He will face fellow American Tennys Sandgren in the final after the latter came through two tie-breakers to beat 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4) in one hour and 38 minutes.

Sandgren, who reached the quarter-final of the Australian Open, will play in his maiden ATP Tour final.

“I didn’t feel like I could get to the final this week. I was just trying to win a few matches,” he said. “But I put myself in that position.”