Opelka Reaches Maiden Masters 1000 Semi-final
The American saved all four break points he faced to overcome Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis 7-5, 7-6(2) after one hour and 41 minutes on Grand Stand Arena. Opelka, who is making his debut at the Foro Italico this week, has not dropped a set en route to the final four in the Italian capital.
“I am surprised [to reach my first Masters 1000 semi-final here]. Clay is not really my thing," Opelka said in his post-match interview. "[It is] not much of an American thing. It is probably just a fluke, but I’ll run with it.”
Not only is Opelka yet to drop a set in Rome, he is yet to lose his serve. The 6’11” right hander, who hit 18 aces against Delbonis, has now struck 77 aces and just four double faults en route to the semi-finals.
“I’ve definitely served well. I hit my spots really well today, especially in big moments,” Opelka said. “I think that has been critical. I have stayed calm [and on] big points, I have delivered.”
Opelka will meet nine-time champion Rafael Nadal for a spot in the championship match. The World No. 47 has not met Nadal before.
Delbonis was making his first appearance in a Masters 1000 quarter-final. The Argentine won five matches from qualifying to reach the last eight in Rome, which included wins against 12th seed David Goffin and #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.