Murray Blunts Opelka's Serve To Reach Sydney Final

Scot through to first ATP Tour final since 2019

Andy Murray remains on course for his 47th tour-level title after he outgunned World No. 25 Reilly Opelka 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4 in the Sydney Tennis Classic semi-finals Friday.

“It’s already been a great week for me, big progress from anything I’ve done in the last year or so, to string four matches together like this and against top players in Basilashvili and Opelka,” Murray said. “I’ll go for 47 tomorrow. It’s been a good week, I’ve played better with each match, so hopefully I’ll step it up again tomorrow.”

The former World No. 1 used his trademark returning prowess to effectively nullify the American’s big serve and reach his first ATP Tour final since he won the title in Antwerp in 2019 (d. Wawrinka).

Despite Opelka serving 20 aces, Murray was still able to find the right moments to effectively counter-attack. “You can’t really prepare for it, to be honest, you just have to try and adjust while you’re out there. I chose to block quite a few returns, to get lots in play today, which worked pretty well,” Murray said. “It’s tough but returning has always been one of the strongest parts of my game, and I used it well today.”

Opelka looked to have finally taken control of a tight first set after surging into a 5/1 lead in the tie-break, but the British World No. 135 fought back to 6/6 before the American prevailed 8/6.

Murray bounced back early in the second set, breaking for 2-1 with the help of two double faults from the American. That opening was enough for the Brit to level the match, as he dropped just one point on serve in the set and surprisingly out-aced the American seven to four.

Both players had to dig deep to save break points in the decider. Opelka recovered from 15/40 in the opening game before some trademark Murray defence ensured that he stayed on serve at 3-3. The Brit finally broke for 5-4 before holding his nerve on serve to set up a clash with fellow Brit Daniel Evans or Russian Aslan Karatsev in Saturday’s final.

More stories like this in: