Reilly Opelka edged all of them, winning Dallas Open

Reilly Opelka

The American men had all four players in the Dallas semis, which has been unusual over the past five years. But the US guys are gradually improving. Maybe this year, they can go deep at the ATP 1000s. As Marcos Giron said at the Grand Slams, they can go higher and higher.

Reilly Opelka won all four matches and took his third title. He won all six tiebreaks at Dallas out of eight sets he played. Beating John Isner in the semis, he won the longest set tiebreak in ATP history, 24-22.

He has a massive first and second serves. Also, when stroking from the baseline, he can hit it like a storm. The downside is that he is 6-foot-11, so it is difficult to sprint left and right.

Without question, he practices a lot and he also competes in the tournaments nearly every week, so it is both good, and it could be bad.

When you are winning, you will want to play all the time. But, if you are losing early, it is a good idea to not play and really think about what you need to improve. He is ranked No. 20. Last summer, he reached the final at the ATP 1000 for the first time in Canada, upsetting Stefanos Tsitsipas before he lost against current No. 2, Daniil Medvedev.

Clearly, to go into the top 5, Opelka would go jump so high and find a path to beat Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Medvedev.

In the quarters, Giron beat his good friend, Taylor Fritz, another tiebreak among many 7-6(3) in the third. On Saturday, in the semis, he went down 7-6(5) in the third versus the 20-year-old Jenson Brooksby.

Giron had a good week, and the former UCLA collegian is growing more consistent, aggressive and thoughtful. He is currently ranked No. 64.

Here is my recent story about Giron.

Last year, there were no U.S. men in the top 20. Now, there are two top 20s. That is critical, but can they reach the top 10 this year? Isner has done that before, but the rest have yet to do it. The No. 17 Taylor Fritz has a shot because he has improved a decent amount over the past year, and the No. 45 Brooksby is understanding what it takes to move up. The No. 34 Frances Tiafoe can be up and down, but he is more careful. Another young person, the No. 43 Sebastian Korda, is finding his solution.

In 2003, Andy Roddick won the US Open, which is a very long time ago. Back then, before the 2000s, a bunch of American guys grabbed the Slams in the 1990s, like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Jim Courier. They were locked in, most of the time. And we are not just talking about the serves, but they were super consistent and could play with a lot of variety.

In the next nine months, the US men will attempt to upset the big boys. Perhaps. As Giron said: “Anything can happen.”