American number one Isner toppled by taller Opelka
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 13, 2019 - John Isner of the U.S. trains. REUTERS/Aly Song
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - United States number one John Isner was sent crashing out of the first round of the Australian Open on Monday by compatriot Reilly Opelka 7-6(4) 7-6(6) 6-7(4) 7-6(5) in a battle of two of the game’s tallest players.
Wimbledon semi-finalist Isner fell at the first hurdle at Melbourne Park for the second year in a row, having been beaten by unseeded Australian Matthew Ebden in a major shock last year.
The 21-year-old Opelka, an inch taller than the 6ft-10in Isner (2.08m), broke the ninth seed’s perfect 9-0 winning record against Americans at the Grand Slams in a match featuring 87 aces.
Isner, 33, was crestfallen to be booking an early flight out of Australia but said he would work through the disappointment.
“You keep working and put your head down and kind of disappear once I leave here and just work,” he told reporters.
“And, you know, trust that that’s going to pay dividends for me in the future.”
Opelka will play 102nd ranked Italian journeyman Thomas Fabbiano for a place in the third round.
Editing by Nick Mulvenney