Reilly Opelka clinched the historic tie-break to beat John Isner in the Dallas Open semifinals on Saturday.
In the longest tie-break in a tour-level match since the start of the ATP Tour in 1990, Opelka won a 24-22 marathon to edge his compatriot.
On his eighth match point, Opelka’s mini-break ended a run of 26 straight points on serve. He saved 10 set points before that to win 7-6(7), 7-6(22).
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) February 13, 2022
“I lost track,” Opelka said when asked to describe the tie-break, referring to the unprecedented seven changes of end.
“At one point it was 21-all… that’s something I’ve never seen before, but if it was going to happen, it certainly would have been in this match.”
“It just shows how clutch he is,” he said of Isner’s effort.
Before Saturday evening, the longest tie-break had lasted 38 points.
That has happened on seven occasions, most recently in Auckland in 2020, when Leonardo Mayer took a 20/18 tie-break against Marco Cecchinato.
Opelka and Isner have now played 12 consecutive tie-break sets in their head-to-head matches, with the former winning their past four meetings to improve to 4-1 in the matchup.
There have been no breaks of serve in their past 98 games.
Opelka fired 39 aces in the match, a two-sets record since the stat was first kept in 1991, and not far shy of the record 45 aces in a best-of-three match.
He is yet to face a break point in Dallas.
Isner tallied 21 aces of his own, and both men won more than 85 per cent of their first-serve points in a match that did not see a break point.
Opelka moves on to his fourth tour-level final with the win.