Opelka Tops Isner to Reach New York Open Final Versus Qualifier Schnur
Reilly Opelka continued his winning ways against top seed John Isner, saving six match points at the New York Open 6-7(10), 7-6(14), 7-6(4) to reach his first ATP World Tour final. The match broke ATP World Tour record for combined aces in a match with 81, 43 for Opelka, 38 for Isner.
“I didn’t put too much stress on myself,” Opelka said in regard to the pressure he faced in the second set, saving match points. “It’s not the end of the world obviously if I lose. Losing to John 6-6 in a match like that isn’t a bad feeling at all. I just competed for every point- I served very well. I thought he served unbelievable- but he’s the greatest server of all time so [that’s] kinda what I expected.”
Opelka, ranked No. 89, talked about carrying the momentum into the third set after saving match points in the second: “It gave me good momentum, but at the same time it doesn’t help when you can’t touch a ball. The only adversary either of us faced in our serves were in the first couple of games. I played an unbelievable game to have those two break points – and I was in one of them. I was a little disappointed that I went with my backhand slice when I was hitting my backhand well and I like that pattern, and I strayed away from my game that point which was a little disappointing because I knew that would probably be my only look at a break that match.”
“My serve has improved a ton- if we look at stats from 2017, my first serve percentage has gone up 10% on average every single match which is huge. That’s what allowed me to play in those breakers, that’s what allowed me to save six match points. When you’re playing a guy like John [Isner], he’s serving and you’re not touching the ball, and I’m serving and the ball is coming back and having to play, I mean odds are going to be in his favor. And today in the breakers it was pretty even- we were both serving.”
Opelka will be facing another man reaching his first ATP Tour final, Canadian Brayden Schnur, who beat last year’s finalist Sam Querrey 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-3. the world No. 154 came into the tournament without a main tour win.
“It’s an extremely big moment for me. These last few days have been unbelievable,” said the Canadian on his upset of the sixth seed and his career week in general. “I was one of the last guys to get into qualifying and my coach said to just see what happens. I think I’ve turned a lot of heads this week and am on the come-up.”
Isner vs Opelka’s Record-Setting New York Open Semifinal
* Opelka saves 6 MPs to defeat Isner in 3 TBs.
* First-time champion guaranteed (Opelka vs. Schnur).
* Champion who saved MPs guaranteed (Schnur saved 2 MPs vs. Johnson in 2R).
* Opelka hit 43 aces and 1 DF. Isner hit 38 aces and 1 DF.
* 81 combined aces is most in Best-of-3-set match since stats started being tracked in 1991.
* Previous record was 71 aces in 2019 Brisbane 1R — Kyrgios (44) vs. Harrison (27).
* Opelka falls 2 aces shy of individual Best-of-3 record — Karlovic (45) vs. Berdych in 2015 Halle QF.
* Last 7 sets played between Opelka and Isner have been TBs (2019 Australian Open 1R).
* Isner makes 88% of his 1st serves (110/125) — 2nd-highest percentage of his career in an ATP/Grand Slam match (92% yesterday).
Brayden Schnur’s week at the New York Open
* On Sunday, Brayden Schnur defeated 17-year-old Long Island native Cannon Kingsley in opening round of qualifying.
* On Monday, he reached career-high No. 154 in ATP Rankings and beat Alexei Popyrin to qualify.
* On Tuesday, he earned 1st ATP Tour win of career over countryman and Columbia University sophomore Jack Lin.
* On Wednesday, he rallied from 5-2 down in 3rd set and saved 2 match points to beat No. 3 seed Steve Johnson.
* On Thursday, he went to sleep at 3:30 am after his win over Johnson finished Wednesday at 11:37 pm.
* On Friday, he hit 24 aces and held in all 18 of his service games to defeat Paolo Lorenzi 6-7(7) 7-6(5) 7-5.
* On Saturday, he saved 5 set points in 1st set of 7-6(7) 4-6 6-3 victory over No. 6 seed Sam Querrey.
* In Sunday’s final, he bids to become 2nd player in as many weeks to earn 1st win and title at same event (Juan Ignacio Londero at Cordoba).
* In Monday’s rankings, he will break into the Top 100 if he wins the New York Open title.
NEW YORK OPEN – NEW YORK, USA
11-17 FEBRUARY 2019
RESULTS – FEBRUARY 16, 2019
Singles – Semifinals
R. Opelka (USA) d  J. Isner (USA) 67(8) 76(14) 76(4)
[Q] B. Schnur (CAN) d  S. Querrey (USA) 76(7) 46 63
Doubles – Semifinals
K. Krawietz (GER) / A. Mies (GER) d  R. Lindstedt (SWE) / T. Puetz (GER) 62 64
S. Gonzalez (MEX) / A. Qureshi (PAK) d A. Mannarino (FRA) / H. Nys (FRA) 64 36 12-10
ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2019
STADIUM COURT start 2:00 pm
DOUBLES FINAL – S. Gonzalez (MEX) / A. Qureshi (PAK) vs K. Krawietz (GER) / A. Mies (GER)
Not Before 4:00 pm
SINGLES FINAL – R. Opelka (USA) vs [Q] B. Schnur (CAN)