Pro Circuit Round-up:
Reilly Opelka goes back-to-back
Arthur Kapetanakis | November 19, 2018
Reilly Opelka won a USTA Pro Circuit singles title for the second consecutive week, this time triumphing at the $75,000 Challenger event in Champaign, Ill., to climb into the ATP’s Top 100 for the first time in his career. He has now won three Challenger titles in the last seven months, also taking the trophies in Bordeaux, France, in May and in Knoxville, Tenn., a week ago to bring his career count to four, all at the Challenger level.
Three of those four titles have come on indoor hard courts, and Opelka’s power game was firing again last week in the climate-controlled conditions in Champaign. Riding the momentum from his Knoxville title, Opelka (pictured above, left) won three of the four tiebreaks he played in the opening two rounds, including a third-set tiebreak win in Round 2 against Kaichi Uchida of Japan to complete a comeback from one set down.ADVERTISEMENT
Three Americans reached the semifinals, where Tommy Paul (above, right) once again pushed Opelka to three sets, with the No. 4 seed surviving, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Paul’s run came on the heels of an opening-round upset of No. 2 Ugo Humbert of France, and was enough to earn him a fourth-place finish in the Australian Open Wild Card Challenge. Should the three men above him (Jack Sock, Opelka and Bradley Klahn) all receive direct entry into the Melbourne main draw – a very feasible scenario given their current ATP rankings – Paul would emerge as the wild-card recipient.
In an all-American final in Champaign, Opelka won his fourth tiebreak of the week in besting qualifier Ryan Shane, 7-6, 6-3, for the trophy. Shane, who has four ITF Futures singles titles to his name, was seeking the first Challenger title of his career.
Opelka, ranked a then-career-high No. 116 entering the event, now enters the ATP’s Top 100 for the first time, at No. 98 in the Nov. 19 edition of the rankings. That puts him comfortably inside the expected ranking cutoff for direct entry into the Australian Open, with the offical direct-entry list typically released in early December. Should he find himself in the draw of 128, it would be Opelka's second career Grand Slam main-draw appearance. He made his major debut in Melbourne in 2017, falling in five to No. 11 seed David Goffin after passing through qualifying without dropping a set.
Other notable results from Americans on the USTA and ITF Pro Circuits include:
- Bradley Klahn won the singles title at the Oracle ATP $150,000 Challenger event in Houston, defeating Roy Smith in the final. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Evan Song were both singles quarterfinalists at the event, while Austin Krajicek and Nicholas Monroe teamed up to win the doubles crown. Jamie Cerretani was a doubles finalist.
- Jordi Arconada was a singles semifinalist at the USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 event in Norman, Okla., where Evan Zhu reached the singles quarterfinals and Justin Butsch was a doubles champion.
- Austin Rapp was a singles quarterfinalist at the $25,000 ITF Futures event in Heraklion, Greece.
- Alec Adamson reached the singles quarterfinals at the $15,000 ITF Futures event in Meshref, Kuwait, where he was also a doubles finalist with Miles Seeman.
- Tyler Lu was a singles semifinalist and a doubles champion, with Luke Jacob Gamble, at the $15,000 ITF Futures event in Maputo Mozambique. Jeremy Sonkin reached the singles quarterfinals at the event.
- Adam El Mihdawy reached the singles quarterfinals at the $15,000 ITF Futures event in Nonthaburi, Thailand.
- Isiah Strode was a singles semifinalist at the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures event in Pensacola, Fla., where Patrick Daciek reached the singles quarterfinals.
- Lauren Davis was a singles finalist at the Oracle WTA $125,000 event in Houston, where Jessica Pegula was a singles semifinalist and a doubles champion with Maegan Manasse. Whitney Osuigwe was a singles quarterfinalist, while Desirae Krawczyk reached the doubles final.
- Katie Volynets was a singles semifinalist at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures event in Normal, Okla., where Lorraine Guillermo and Jessica Ho reached the singles quarterfinals. Ena Shibahara was a doubles champion at the event, while Sofia Sewing was a doubles finalist.
- Chiara Scholl reached the singles quarterfinals at the $15,000 ITF Pro Circuit event in Monastir, Tunisia.
- Haley Giavara and Kimmy Guerin were both singles quarterfinalists at the $15,000 ITF Pro Circuit event in Heraklion, Greece, where Guerin and Mary Closs were doubles finalists.
- Nick Taylor and David Wagner were quad doubles champion at the UNIQLO Doubles Masters ITF Masters Series event in Bammel, Netherlands. Dana Mathewson was a women’s doubles finalist at the event.
(Photo credit: Diana Ly)