03:56 AM GMT May 21, 2018
For the 11th time, the ATP Challenger Tour descended on the French city of Bordeaux for the BNP Paribas Primrose. And the prestigious €106,000 event would celebrate its first American champion on Sunday. Reilly Opelka rallied from a set down to defeat home hope Gregoire Barrere 6–7(5), 6–4, 7–5 in two hours and 20 minutes, firing 22 aces and saving five of six break points faced.
"I served great, served a lot of aces from the first match and competed really hard," said Opelka. "I love it here. Even off the court I've been hanging out in the city a lot and enjoying my time. The architecture is incredible."
The title marked Opelka's first clay-court crown at any level and second victory overall on the Challenger circuit. He previously prevailed on the indoor hard courts of Charlottesville in 2016. The 20-year-old continues the youth movement in 2018, becoming the third-youngest winner this year, after Sunday's Heilbronn champ Rudolf Molleker (17) and Newport Beach titlist Taylor Fritz (20).
Opelka is on a roll on the dirt, posting an 11-2 mark over the past month, including semi-final finishes in Sarasota and Savannah. He soars 62 spots to No. 144 in the ATP Rankings and rises to eighth in the ATP Race To Milan. The American is now just 128 points behind Alex de Minaur for the coveted seventh position, with the Top 7 players born in 1997 and later qualifying for the Next Gen ATP Finals in November.
Reilly took ATPChallengerTour.com on a tour of his hotel room earlier this month in Savannah...