Team USA in Review: February 2019
If success in the summer is truly made in the winter, then both Reilly Opelka and Caty McNally set themselves up for outdoor prowess while indoors in February.
Opelka, the 21-year old who stands 6-foot-11, won his first ATP Tour singles title at the New York Open 250 event, displaying what his powerful serve can do when at its best. Opelka bombed 156 aces over his four matches, and fired 43 each in victories over fellow American John Isner in the semis and Brayden Schnur in the finals, the first time a player has hit more than 40 aces in consecutive three-set matches since the ATP began tracking the ace statistic in 1991. The win lifted Opelka up to a career-high No. 56 in the world rankings.
McNally, at 17, won her biggest professional title to date at the USTA Pro Circuit W100 event in Midland, Mich., early in the month. The Cincinnati native, who received a wild-card entry into the main draw of the tournament, didn’t lose a set all week and beat four seeded players to capture her first singles title above the 25 level and rise in the rankings from No. 411 to a career-high No. 253, becoming the seventh player under 18 in the WTA Top 300.
Other Tour-level highlights from Americans in February:
- The Delray Beach Open ATP 250 was full of former collegian successes, as both John Isner (Georgia) and Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA) reached the singles semifinals, while Stanford’s Bob and Mike Bryan won their 117th Tour-level doubles crown as a team.
USTA Pro Circuit and ITF World Tennis Tour-level highlights:
- Mitchell Krueger overcame McDonald to win his first ATP Challenger singles title at the Challenger 110 tournament in Dallas, where both Opelka and Bjorn Fratangelo also reached the semifinals. Further, former UCLA teammates Marcos Giron and Dennis Novikov won the doubles title, Novikov’s fifth and Giron’s first.
- Two-time NCAA champion Nicole Gibbs (Stanford) won seventh career singles title at the W25 event in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., over her former Cardinal teammate Kristie Ahn.
- Former collegians Rob Galloway (Wofford) and Nate Lammons (SMU) won their second Challenger doubles title of 2019, at the ATP Challenger 80 event in Cherbourg, France.
- Fourteen-year-old Coco Gauff won her first doubles title and nearly won her first singles title at the W25 tournament in Surprise, Ariz., reaching the singles final.
- Two-time NCAA doubles champion Martin Redlicki (UCLA) swept the singles and doubles titles at the M15 event in Tucson, Ariz., his first singles title on tour.
- Players to win 25-level doubles titles: former North Carolina Tar Heel Hayley Carter and UCLA Bruin Ena Shibahara (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.).
- Players to win 15-level doubles titles: Jennifer Elie (Perth, Australia); Joe Van Meter, formerly of Cleveland State (Monastir, Tunisia); former Texas Longhorn George Goldhoff and UCLA Bruin Austin Rapp (Claremont, Calif.).
(Note: Highlights include all events ending in February. Events ending in March will be reflected in next month’s Team USA in Review.)