2022 in Review: Reilly Opelka downs John Isner in 'Battle Of The Bots'

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2022 in Review: Reilly Opelka downs John Isner in 'Battle Of The Bots'

Reilly Opelka and John Isner battled in an all-American final at the ATP 250 event in Houston. It was the tallest ATP final in the Open era, and the younger player emerged at the top to claim his fourth ATP title. Opelka toppled Isner 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 50 minutes, prevailing in the second set tie break to emerge at the top and avoid a decider.

Two great friends fired "only 18" aces and offered 13 break chances. Reilly defended all eight and delivered one break in the opening set from five opportunities. Isner gave his best in the second set, wasting three set points and missing a chance to become the oldest champion at this event.

Reilly kicked off the action with a perfect drop shot winner in the encounter's first game. The veteran responded with a service winner in game two for 1-1. Both players served well in games three and four before Opelka placed a backhand wide to face a break point at 2-2.

He saved it and brought the game home to avoid an early setback.

Reilly Opelka claimed his fourth ATP title in Houston.

John held at love in game six and reached deuce on the return a few minutes later before Reilly moved 4-3 up.

Suddenly, Isner missed a routine forehand at the net and faced three break points in game eight. He denied them to reach deuce before netting a forehand and offering another chance to his rival. Opelka seized it and built a crucial 5-3 advantage.

The younger American served for the opener in game nine and clinched it with a forehand down the line winner in 39 minutes. Isner stayed composed and created two break chances in the second set's second game. Reilly denied them with fine attacks and held after John's backhand mistake for 1-1.

Isner produced another fine hold and created two break opportunities at 2-1. Opelka erased them with winners and landed an ace to bring the game home and lock the result at 2-2. Struggling for the third straight service game, Reilly saved two break points with powerful serves in game six and held for 3-3.

Isner still pushed strong on the return and earned another opportunity at 4-3. Opelka saved himself with a booming serve and delivered another hold that kept him in. Isner held at love in game nine, and Opelka repeated that a few minutes later for 5-5 and more drama.

John faced a break point in game 11 and denied it with an ace. The set went into a tie break, a must-win one for the more experienced player. Isner moved 6-4 up with a backhand crosscourt return winner and failed to seize them.

Reilly erased the third set point at 6-7 and earned the first match point with a service winner at 7-7. John sent a volley long in the 16th point to drop the breaker 9-7 and propel Reilly over the finish line and toward the title.

Reilly Opelka John Isner