Thrilling finish to New York Open

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An intense singles final between unseeded Reilly Opelka and longshot qualifier Brayden Schnur last Sunday capped a thrilling and upset-filled 2019 New York Open ATP tournament at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.

Fittingly, the championship was decided in a tiebreak with Opelka prevailing 6-1, 7-6, 7-6 for his first ATP title. Less than 24 hours earlier, he fought off six match points in the semifinals on the way to upsetting No. 1-seed John Isner in a three-set, all-tiebreak marathon which set the record for most combined aces with 81.

“This is definitely my biggest title yet,” said the 21-year-old Opelka, a Florida native who blasted 43 aces against Schnur and compiled a tournament-leading 156 for the week. “Today was tough,” he added. “I felt like I had a lot of opportunities throughout the whole match. The third set tiebreaker could’ve went either way.”

Schnur, a 23-year-old Canadian, entered the Open 0-5 in Tour-level matches and finished within a couple of points of winning the championship. He turned plenty of heads and built a growing fanbase during a wild eight-day journey that included upsets of third-seeded Steve Johnson in the first round (after two qualifier victories) and No. 6 Sam Querrey in the semifinals.

“It’s an amazing week for me,” said Schnur, who played seven matches and logged nearly 13 hours (12 hours, 49 minutes) of court time. “Making an ATP final blows my mind,” he added. “I played a lot of three-setters the last couple of days and obviously I’m pretty tired. You know adrenaline just kind of pushes you through at the end, using the crowd’s energy.”

Like the singles draw, there was no shortage of upsets on the doubles side. The final, also held last Sunday, featured two unseeded teams with Kevin Krawietz and Andraes Mies taking the title with a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 win over Santiago Gonzalez and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.

Krawietz and Mies, who reached the Round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2018, failed to drop a set (8-0) along the way to capturing their first crown as partners. “It’s really a dream come true for us,” Mies said. “It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe.”

Next year’s New York Open is set for Feb. 8-16.