DALLAS — John Isner has already been part of the two longest matches in Wimbledon history. Might as well add the longest tiebreaker on the ATP Tour, at his hometown event no less.
Reilly Opelka beat Isner 24-22 in a second-set tiebreaker to finish a victory that put him in the final of the inaugural Dallas Open.
The second-seeded Opelka sent a winner down the line to secure the 7-6 (7), 7-6 (22) win over Isner, the No. 3 seed who lives about a mile from the SMU tennis facility hosting the event.
Opelka will face No. 4 seed Jenson Brooksby, who saved four match points in a 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) victory over seventh-seeded Marcos Giron. It was the first time since 2004 that all four semifinalists have been Americans.
At Wimbledon 12 years ago, Isner played an 11-hour, 5-minute match that covered three days, beating Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in a remarkable fifth set.
Eight years later, Kevin Anderson beat Isner in a Wimbledon semifinal that lasted 6 hours, 36 minutes, before Anderson lost to Novak Djokovic in the final.
Isner greeted the latest milestone with barely a shrug after he and Opelka combined for 60 aces and won 87 percent of their first-serve points.
“More history, I guess,” said Isner, who was seeded third. “If I win that second set, I think I have a good shot to win the match.”
The 24-year-old Opelka, a two-time winner on tour, now has four straight wins over Isner. All 10 of the sets he has won against the 16-time tour champion have gone to a tiebreaker. They’ve played 12 straight tiebreakers and have held 98 straight service games against each other.
“It was bizarre,” Opelka said. “It’s just next point, you know? Back to the guessing game. I have to take care of what I do and hopefully guess right. And I did.”
Isner and fellow American Jack Sock beat Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara 6-7 (4), 7-5, 10-8 in the doubles semifinals. They will play the top-seeded team of Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer in Sunday’s final.
Opelka is ranked No. 23 in the world and is 2-1 all-time in ATP Tour finals. He won New York in 2019 and Delray Beach in 2020.
Brooksby, ranked a career-best 54th, has reached his second final in his 10th event. The 21-year-old is seeking his first ATP Tour title.
Up a set and leading 4-1 in the second, Brooksby couldn’t keep Giron from forcing the deciding set. Brooksby faced the four match points down 6-5 on his serve, then closed out the nearly three-hour match by winning the final three points of the tiebreaker.
“I was up in the second set, I had built some good momentum from the first and I just got tight,” Brooksby said. “I didn’t lose focus, but I don’t know, I got tight.”