WASHINGTON, July 24 : American Reilly Opelka edged past countryman John Isner for the third time this season on Wednesday, giving the top seed his earliest Atlanta Open exit in 10 appearances 7-6 (2), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5).
Opelka saved three break points while serving at 4-5 in the third set and stayed alive en route to the hard-fought victory in the second round. The 21-year-old American also beat Isner at the Australian Open and at the New York Open in February.
"I was clutch on big moments in the match. First-set tie-break I played unbelievable, pretty much flawless, hit some great shots," Opelka said. "John is just so consistent with his serve. It's so hard to play three tie-breaks with him because there's just so much pressure, there's so much stress for three hours straight. It's tough. I'm thrilled to get through."
Isner is the two-time defending champion and had reached the Atlanta final in nine of his 10 appearances. "It's his tournament. It always will be. Definitely a tough guy to beat in Atlanta," Opelka said. "I'm really happy that I was able to find a way to win."
Opelka's reward will be a quarterfinal clash against Daniel Evans of Britain, who defeated Radu Albot of Moldova 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-2 in another second round match.