UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Brayden Schnur's improbable run at the New York Open has fallen one victory short of a championship.
The Canadian tennis player lost 6-1, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (7) to American Reilly Opelka in the final of the ATP Tour 250 event on Sunday.
A night after overcoming six match points to beat top-seeded John Isner in the semifinals, Opelka needed six of his own to finish off Schnur in the matchup for first-time finalists.
"It's a dream come true, amazing week for me," said an emotional Schnur. "Making an ATP final blows my mind."
Schnur, who had never won a tour-level match before arriving in New York and making it into the tournament through qualifying, nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback after getting blown off the court in less than 20 minutes in the first set.
The 154th-ranked Canadian appeared to finally have a match point of his own, but Opelka challenged what initially looked like Schnur's ace. The serve was ruled out, and Schnur double-faulted on his second serve. Opelka then wrapped it up with the last of his 156 aces in the tournament.
"It just sucks to go down the way it happened, a challenge at 7-all, that close, and then 30-second break almost and hit second serve in the net, double fault, super tough. Just unfortunate because I left it all out on the court, but that's how sports are."
The 23-year-old Schnur triumphed in four matches in the main draw after qualifying for the event with another two victories.
Schnur, of Pickering, Ont., is projected to move up to around No. 107 in the rankings on Monday after starting the week at No. 154.
Schnur fought off two match point in the second set en route to winning the tiebreak against the 89th-ranked Opelka, but could not pull off his fourth three-set win in a row.
Schnur's result in New York earned him an automatic entry into the Delray Beach Open, another ATP Tour 250 event, starting Monday in Florida. He'll face France's Adrian Mannarino in the first round.
"I struggled with (confidence) a bit early in my career, but I believe I belong with the top guys, these types of tournaments, playing every week," said Schnur. "I'll take the confidence from this and move forward."
The runner-up result continues a string of solid play from Schnur, who reached the quarterfinals at his past two Challenger events after advancing to the final at another Challenger in Newport Beach, Calif.
— With files from The Associated Press