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By Chris Oddo | Sunday February 17

 
Reilly Opelka

Reilly Opelka converted his sixth championship point against Canada's Brayden Schnur to to claim his maiden ATP title at the New York Open on Sunday in Long Island.

Photo Source: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke/Newsday

Towering 21-year-old Reilly Opelka overcame a gritty effort from Canada’s Brayden Schnur in an unlikely New York Open final that featured two first-time finalists and one who had never registered a main draw win prior to this week.

Opelka needed two hours and six championship points to finally eliminate the feisty Schnur, who had entered the week with a rather unimpressive 0-5 ATP record but provided a run for the ages, including saving two match points to take out third-seeded Steve Johnson in the second round.

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If Opelka was the favorite in this final, it wasn’t by much. The 6’11 bomb server had just one ATP semi-final to his name, from way back in 2016, and only 10 ATP wins to his name, but he played stunningly in New York, particularly in Saturday’s semi-final when he took out John Isner after saving six match points in a dramatic second-set tiebreaker.

Opelka is spry for his size and produces more than the explosive serve that is his calling card, but his serve was the center of attention in the final and throughout the week, as he cracked 43 aces and held serve in his final 68 service games of the tournament.


Schnur hardly got a sniff against the Opelka’s offerings in the final—he won 18 points  across Opelka's 16 service games, but he did plenty behind his own serve and produced magic in the second-set tiebreaker when he saved two championship points to force a third set.

Schnur saved all three break points he faced in the decider and saved another three championship points in the third-set breaker but he couldn’t hang on to get the victory.

He was close, however. A big first serve that would have given him a championship point was proved to be out when challenged by Opelka. Schnur double-faulted from there to hand Opelka his sixth match point on his serve.

The American didn’t miss a beat, clinching the hard-fought victory with ace No.43.


Opelka will rise from 89 to inside the Top 60 with his title, while Schnur will rise from 154 to 107.

 

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