Expected Points, May 14: The Opportunistic, One-Dimensional Reilly Opelka


Anticipated Factors, my new brief, day by day podcast, highlights three numbers as an instance stats, tendencies, and attention-grabbing trivia across the sport.

Up at the moment: Opelka’s success in Rome suggests he has abilities that the stats don’t bear out, and 60 years in the past this week, an armada of previous and future stars gathered on arduous courts in Los Angeles.

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Music: Love is the Chase by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2021. Licensed below a Artistic Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license. Ft: Apoxode

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Tough transcript of at the moment’s episode:

The primary quantity is 32.7%, Reilly Opelka’s charge of return factors received via three matches in Rome this week. He reached his first tour-level clay-court quarterfinal with an upset yesterday of Aslan Karatsev, changing certainly one of two break probabilities regardless of profitable barely one-quarter of the Russian’s service factors. The 23-year-old American is the following era’s John Isner, a near-seven-footer who dominates with a monster serve. The standard knowledge is that Opelka doesn’t have fairly the first-strike offensive weapon that Isner does, however that his higher motion makes him a more practical defensive participant. To date, the numbers don’t bear that out. Isner has received nearly precisely 30% of return factors over his profession, whereas Opelka’s profession common barely reaches 28%. On a sluggish floor, in opposition to three unseeded gamers, he has did not win even a 3rd of his opponents’ choices. It isn’t all dangerous information: At Opelka’s present age, Isner had but to crack the highest 100, and if all of the youthful man does is match his countryman’s achievements, he has a number of trophy cupboards to purchase. However a quarter-final on the Roman clay implies abilities that Opelka merely hasn’t demonstrated. Fortunate for him, they is probably not examined till Saturday, as his opponent within the spherical of eight is a good larger shock, Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis.

Our second quantity is 60, the variety of years since Karen Hantze defeated Billie Jean Moffitt to win the 1961 Southern California Championships. Within the novice period, Los Angeles was the middle of the arduous court docket universe, so whereas the Italian Championships drew lots of the greatest gamers on the planet the identical week, SoCal performed host to what would turn into a outstanding inter-generational area. Moffitt, in fact, quickly grew to become Billie Jean King, and would win Wimbledon six occasions between 1966 and 1975. Hantze, referred to as Karen Susman after her marriage, obtained there first, beating Vera Sukova to win the 1962 Wimbledon title. Solely 11 months older than King, Susman received 7 of their 10 conferences, Billie Jean’s solely American modern to carry a profitable report in opposition to her. The 2 youngsters teamed as much as attain the SoCal doubles ultimate as nicely, dropping to Kathy Chabot and Sally Moore. That lesser-known Californian pair will need to have felt fairly good when Susman and King received their first of six main doubles titles collectively at Wimbledon simply two months later.

At the moment’s third and ultimate quantity is 36, the entire variety of Wimbledon championships received by the gamers on court docket for a single ladies’s doubles semi-final at that 1961 Los Angeles match six a long time in the past. I’ve advised you about Susman and King, who received 23 singles, doubles, and combined doubles titles between them on the All England Membership. The remaining 13 belonged to Louise Brough, four-time singles champ between 1948 and 1955, one other Southern California product who nonetheless performed aggressive doubles at age 38 and would win WTA singles matches in a quick comeback greater than a decade later. Brough and companion Barbara Inexperienced Weigandt pushed the youthful duo earlier than dropping 9-7, 8-6. As if that one match isn’t sufficiently star-studded, the ladies’s doubles draw additionally featured 16-year-old Cathy Lee Crosby, who was runner-up within the junior occasion and would turn out to be TV’s authentic Marvel Girl in 1974. Whereas Brough performed the SoCal Championships for greater than 20 years, King moved on after profitable the occasion for the third time in 1966, aged solely 22. Finally she even made it to Rome, the place in 1970 she completed one thing Brough by no means did: profitable the Italian Championships.


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