Now, the 27-year-old American has come on the verge of the top-40 following his maiden ATP title in Auckland, defeating Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 18 minutes for his most significant success on the Tour, previously losing the final in Houston last April.
"I'm a little bit lost for words". Sandgren says it means a lot to get the first win.
Sandgren said his extra experience counted.
Norrie said on atptour.com: "I think he was solid throughout". "[I'm] just grateful that I can be out here, play and compete".
The American carved out 12 break point opportunities against Norrie's serve and converted four of them, while also sending down seven aces in the final warm-up before the Australian Open, where he reached the quarter-finals past year.
Sandgren broke Norrie in his first service game - only the third time Norrie's serve had been broken at the tournament - and held a narrow edge throughout the match, eventually winning the tournament without dropping a set.
Composed American Sofia Kenin broke through to clinch her first WTA title Saturday with a straight sets win over Slovak Anna Karolina Schmiedlova at the Hobart International. "Today, there were a couple of areas and certain moments that I wasn't quite there". "I've had some injuries and just to be healthy and play well has been good".
The 77th-ranked Schmiedlova started strongly, earning three break points on the Kenin serve in the fourth game, but couldn't convert and never threatened from then on.
Playing her first top-level singles final, the 20-year-old Kenin took the first set with a break before running away with the match in 71 minutes.