Fritz, Isner and more out to be the next American 'Fall Guy'

Fritz, Isner and more out to be the next American 'Fall Guy'

The post-US Open series swing has historically been a dry period on the ATP tour for the U.S. this decade, yielding just a single title.

After the US Open, the “Asian Swing” and the slate of fall indoor tournaments on the ATP tour haven’t been particularly hospitable to American men: Jack Sock’s surprise run at the Paris Masters in 2017 has been the only fall singles title won by a player from the U.S. in the 2010s.

With only a few tournaments left this year—and this decade—here’s a look at some of the top contenders that could put an end to a rather dubious streak.


Taylor Fritz

Having experienced an initial breakout back in 2016, the Californian had a couple of lean years the following two seasons before re-establishing himself among the game’s brightest prospects this year with a title on grass and two hard-court finals. His torrid run tapered off at the US Open, but he put in a solid showing at the Laver Cup, where he defeated world No. 5 Dominic Thiem. Fritz is the third seed at the Stockholm Open this week, and playing in controlled conditions under a roof can prove beneficial to his powerful, yet still-developing, all-court game.

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Sam Querrey

As he gets ready to wrap up his 13th year as a professional, Querrey—who has reached 19 career singles finals, winning 10 of them—has never played in a championship match this late in the year. Coming off a first-round loss at the Shanghai Masters to Fabio Fognini, his Stockholm Open campaign has gotten off to a decent start with an opening-round win. Though the 32-year-old has experienced a number of ups and downs this year, evidenced by another quarterfinal at Wimbledon and a first-round loss at the US Open, he has shown recently that he can contend for one of the last titles of the year, having reached the quarterfinals at the China Open two weeks ago.

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Frances Tiafoe

It can almost be said that the Maryland native is experiencing something similar to a “sophomore slump.” Last year, he won his first career title and added another final-round appearance, but aside from quarterfinal finishes at the Australian Open and Miami Open this year, he’s been unable to build upon those results. Currently sitting outside of the top 50 in the rankings, Tiafoe is unseeded this week in Antwerp, Belgium. Provided he wins his opener against Yannick Maden, he could face Jan-Lennard Struff next, then potentially Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals, whom he beat for one of his best wins this year in their first meeting.  

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Reilly Opelka

Though his time in Stockholm is already over, having lost to Italian Stefano Travaglia in the first round, Opelka’s game is at its most potent indoors: The 22-year-old won the first title of his career at the beginning of the year at the New York Open. He’s advanced to other semifinals over the year, most recently in Tokyo a couple of weeks ago, where he defeated Fritz and the veteran Gilles Simon along the way. Opelka’s struggled against the steadier baseliners, but if he manages to protect his serve, he can go far in any draw.

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John Isner

Still holding the top spot in the rankings among American men, Isner’s season took a major hit after the Miami Open, where he advanced to the finals in his attempt at defending the title, but suffered a foot injury that sidelined him for months. The former world No. 8 did win in Newport this summer to extend his run of capturing at least one title in nine of the past 10 years. The only season he failed to come out on top at a tournament was in 2016, but he finished the year strong with a runner-up showing at the Paris Masters—and almost putting an end to the streak for American men a year before Sock.

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