Reilly Opelka beats childhood ”idol” to achieve a ‘first’ in Houston
Reilly Opelka claimed his fourth ATP career title after defeating fellow American John Isner in the final of the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in straight sets 6-3, 7-6(7).
In the tallest ATP tour final in Open Era, it was the 6’11” (2.11m) Opelka who got the better of the 6’10” (2.08m) Isner, wrapping up the victory in one hour and 50 minutes for his second title of the year.
This was the World number 17’s first ever ATP tour title on clay and the fifth time that Opelka had beaten Isner in six meetings.
The World number 27 Isner rued missed opportunities in the match, with the former World number 8 squandering 3 set points in the second set tie-breaker before Opelka sealed the victory.
In the post-match press conference Reilly Opelka paid tribute to the veteran Isner saying, “He was my idol growing up as a kid, and before I even met him, I liked him. But since we’ve become such good friend and spent so much time on Tour, I like him even more now.”
“He’s been an unbelievable role model for not just myself, [but] Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul. We all say the same. He’s been an unbelievable competitor for a long time.”
John Isner also gave the younger American praise stating he will be competitive on the ATP tour for many more years to come.
“We’ve played a handful of times and you keep on beating me. I hate you for that! But it was really cool to play you in a final. I think that’s very unique.”
”Obviously there are a lot of similarities between Reilly and I, but I’m much older than him and he has a lot more years ahead of him on Tour, so for me to get to play you in a final, I think that’s very, very special.”
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