Opelka Saves Match Point, Beats Raonic To Reach Delray Beach Final
Reilly Opelka saved one match point in a second-set tie-break on Sunday before rallying to reach the final of the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com with a 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 win against former World No. 3 Milos Raonic. This semi-final was delayed from Saturday evening due to rain.
Opelka will face Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka later in the day for the title. Both men own one ATP Tour title, but Opelka leads their ATP Head2Head series 1-0, defeating the lefty in straight sets last week at the New York Open.
Watch Incredible Opelka Passing Shot:
Opelka let slip a 5/0 advantage in the second-set tie-break, losing six consecutive points. But he erased the only match point he faced with a booming ace down the T. The 22-year-old crushed 19 aces in the match to Raonic’s 16, triumphing after two hours and seven minutes.
That wasn’t the only tough moment for Opelka. After winning all 37 of his service games to reach the final, he hit back-to-back double faults in the first game of the semi-final to hand Raonic the early advantage. The Canadian, who was trying to reach his first ATP Tour final since 2018 Stuttgart, took full advantage.
Raonic won 89 per cent of his first-serve points in the opener to cruise to within one set of the final. But the big-serving Opelka hung around in the second set — in which he hit 11 aces — to battle to a decider.
After not breaking Raonic’s serve in the 29-year-old’s first 14 service games, Opelka won back-to-back return games to reach his second ATP Tour final. He will try to become the fourth American champion in Delray Beach in the past five years. Moldovan Radu Albot was victorious last year at this ATP 250.
Did You Know?
In just a few hours, Opelka will transition from facing a 6'5" opponent in Raonic to a 5'7" player in Nishioka.