Opelka outguns Isner again

Reilly Opelka

NEW YORK — Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur punched his ticket to the ATP New York Open final by outlasting US journeyman Sam Querrey 7-6 (9/7), 4-6, 6-3 Saturday.

Schnur, a 23-year-old from Montreal ranked 154th in the world, defeated 10-time ATP title-winner Querrey in one hour and 54 minutes in the semi-finals.

He will try to complete a fairy-tale championship run Sunday against American Reilly Opelka, who outgunned top seed John Isner in three sets 6-7 (8/10), 7-6 (16/14), 7-6 (7/4) in the other semifinal.

The all-American showdown set a Tour record for the most combined aces in a three set match with 81. The previous record was 71 set by Nick Kyrgios and Ryan Harrison earlier this year in Brisbane.

Opelka survived five match points in a second set to send the contest to a third and final set.

The two hour, 31 minute serving duel saw Opelka blast 43 aces compared to 38 for the hard-hitting Isner.

Opelka, who also beat Isner in the opening round of the 2019 Australian Open, won 91 percent of his first serve points and was never broken.

Isner was seeking his 15th ATP title and first since winning last year in Atlanta.

But Isner failed to capitalize on numerous chances to close out the match in the second set tiebreaker.

Opelka won the tiebreaker 16-14, hitting a running crosscourt forehand to take the set 7-6.

Thiem knocked out

Local favorite Diego Schwartzman recovered from a shaky start to overcome top seed Dominic Thiem 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) Saturday and set up a final showdown with Italy’s Marco Cecchinato at the Argentina Open.

Buenos Aires-born Schwartzman fought back from 4-2 down to force a tiebreak in the third set.

The world No. 19 held his nerve in a nail-biting tiebreak to condemn Thiem, who had won the title in both of his previous two appearances at the tournament, to his first defeat in the Argentine capital.

Schwartzman will take on Cecchinato in Sunday’s final after the Italian beat another Argentine, Guido Pella, 6-4, 6-2.

Wawrinka in final

Three-time Grand Slam title winner Stan Wawrinka reached his second Rotterdam Open final on Saturday by knocking out top seed Kei Nishikori 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

Switzerland’s 2015 champion needed almost two and a quarter hours to defeat the Japanese star who was playing at the Dutch event for the first time.

Wawrinka will face off for his first title since Geneva in May 2017 when he plays against good friend Gael Monfils in Sunday’s final.

The French showman returned to the final as he overhauled Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Nishikori suffered only his second loss of the season against 11 victories, which included the Brisbane title and a quarterfinal run at the Australian Open. — Agencies

“It’s a big relief to reach my first final since my surgery,” Wawrinka said.

“It’s really important to see that I can play a full week of matches. I’m feeling good physically, I’m glad to be in a final again and glad to do it here.”

He added: “When you come back from surgery, you need to be patient with yourself. The toughest thing is to come back at the right level, where you want to be.”

The Swiss won his last meeting with Monfils at Roland Garros two years ago.

Wawrinka ended with eight aces and 35 winners while breaking Nishikori five times.

“Stan was playing well in the first set, but not like amazing,” said Nishikori.

“I made too many mistakes, too many unforced errors, I could have played better. I was missing too much.”