A 6-foot-11 American who calls himself a “serve bot” and hits an ace at 130 mph has emerged as a threat at the US Open.


Reilly Opelka has a racket at the US Open.

Reilly Opelka won the first two games at the US Open. Elsa / Getty Images

  • Reilly Opelka, a 6-foot-11 American, won the first two games of the US Open.

  • Prior to the British Open, John McEnroe said he saw the big hit Opelka as “dangerous.”

  • Opelka has had the best season of his career and may be close to a major breakthrough.

  • For more articles, please visit the Insider homepage..

American men haven’t played in the US Open finals since Andy Roddick in 2006, but Reilly Opelka has begun to threaten the end of the steak.

The 24-year-old won the first two US Open games on Tuesday and Thursday, beating South Korea’s Sunwookwon and Italy’s Lorenzomsetti in a straight set.

Opelka, ranked 24th in the world, had the strongest season in his young career. He advanced to the semi-finals at the Roman Masters in May and to the finals at the Rogers Cup in Toronto in August, losing to second-placed Daniil Medvedev.

Opelka also scored the longest run in the majors by participating in the third round of the French Open this year.

Prior to the US Open, tennis legend and ESPN analyst John McEnroe told reporters that Opelka was considered “dangerous” at this year’s tournament.

“Mentally I think he’s making real progress and is more consistently competing,” McEnroe said. Now via tennis.. Among the American men, he called Opelka the “most dangerous.”

McEnroe said Opelka was the type of player he didn’t want to play during his career.

The 11ft 6ft Opelka is known for its powerful serve of over 130mph. According to ATP, Opelka is ranked 2nd in average ace per match and 3rd in service points earned.

Opelka calls himself a “serve bot”. In other words, he is a player who regularly hits ace and holds a serve, and there are few good rallies, making the game a little dull.

At a recent press conference, Opelka said John Isner, Milos Raonic, Kevin Anderson and Ivo Karlovic were “the first team all-bots.” Opelka joked that Nick Kyrgios also has a lot of serve, but the player’s excitement is too great to be the first team’s all-bot.

However, Opelka seems to have recently jumped to a new level thanks to the game of serve. As Adam Zagoria of Forbes pointed out, Opelka demonstrated all-round ability in the final match against Kwon. He closed his opponent with a forehand volley, a backhand volley and a forehand ground stroke. It’s on top of the 136 mph ace in the final game.

For players of his size, he works well. This is the fate of other tall players with a powerful serve. Against Musetti, Opelka quickly recovered to the net and hit a spinning volley to score points.

Opelka told reporters before the opening that he was mentally stronger last year. This is one of the biggest challenges of one-on-one sports.

According to ATP Opelka prefers to play in front of fans, but said, “I’m used to playing without fans. I think I really had to work on my thinking at that time.”

But Opelka also said he wanted to see how he was fairing after some matches before deciding if he had broken through to another level.

“One of the great things is that it’s seeded this year,” Opelka said. Via Mark Berman of the New York Post.. “It makes a world of difference. I’m definitely far from that, but I haven’t had a second week of slam. I want to see what happens in the four 3-out- I have to test my body.-5 sets of matches. That’s the only reason I don’t know if I’m ready. I’m not negative. I’m just realistic . “

Saturday’s victory (against an undecided opponent) will push Opelka to a level never reached in a major tournament. It may also notify the rest of the field.

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