Nakashima, 18, Reaches Delray Beach Quarter-finals In ATP Tour Debut
#NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima continued to turn heads with his all-court game on Wednesday at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com. The 18-year-old wild card, competing in his debut ATP Tour event, raced past British qualifier Cameron Norrie 7-5, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals.
”I always knew that I had the game to compete with these high-level pros. I just had to have the right opportunities,” Nakashima said. “I was just hoping to play a good first-round match here, but after winning these two matches, I have a lot of confidence in my game now… Hopefully I can keep it going.”
Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, Nakashima’s newly appointed coach, watched in the stands as the teenager used powerful groundstrokes to stay on top of Norrie in their rallies. With Norrie serving at 5-6 in the opening set, the wild card cracked a 95mph forehand winner to earn two set points and then laced a backhand passing shot to grab the early advantage.
The San Diego native continued to raise his level as Norrie became visibly frustrated. He dropped just six points on serve in the second set and converted both break points to prevail in one hour and 22 minutes. He is the youngest quarter-finalist at this event since an 18-year-old Kei Nishikori took the title in 2008 and the fourth-youngest in tournament history.
Awaiting him in the next round is Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka, who eased past American qualifier Noah Rubin 6-1, 6-2. Nishioka only lost seven points on serve (32/39) and didn’t offer Rubin a break point.
”He’s obviously had a really good career so far and has had a lot of great wins,” Nakashima said. “I’m just excited to play and am looking forward to a good match tomorrow.”
"I'm trying to get better in every department. The serve doesn't do it. You've got to have more than that," Opelka said. "I like playing here. I live not far at all from here, so being able to sleep in my own bed and feel like I'm at home for once is nice."
Next up for Opelka is South Korean Soonwoo Kwon, who outlasted American wild card Ryan Harrison in a thrilling 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(0) battle. Kwon let slip two match points with Harrison serving at 4-5 in the final set, but recovered to prevail in two hours and 39 minutes. The 22-year-old is through to his third quarter-final this month, having also reached the last eight in Pune and New York.