Opelka fires 27 aces to clinch title in Florida

Stefanos Tsitsipas also defended his Marseille Open title with victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime

Last Updated: 24/02/20 9:35am

Reilly Opelka's first title arrived at the New York Open last year
Reilly Opelka’s first title arrived at the New York Open last year

Reilly Opelka beat Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in three sets to win his second career ATP Tour title at the Delray Beach Open in Florida on Sunday.

The fourth-seeded Opelka clinched victory in style, pounding his 27th ace of the match down the centre line for a 7-5 6-7(4) 6-2 triumph.

“I’m just really proud of the way I fought in the third set,” Opelka said. “I got an early break and I broke again. Physically I was feeling pretty good. If he broke me and we had to play more tennis, I was fine.”

Opelka won the first set after crushing a forehand at 6-5 to earn his third set point. A cross-court backhand passing shot that Nishioka could not handle ended the set and sent Opelka, sprinting to his chair, smacking his chest in celebration.

Nishioka forced a tie-break in the second, which he won when Opelka sent a ground-stroke long.

But the Japanese player double faulted in the first game of the third set to give Opelka the break and the 22-year-old American finished off the match with his big ace.

“It’s very tough to break his service games,” Nishioka said. “In the third set a little bit I lost my mind and maybe he saw it, he came out and tried to be a little bit aggressive. It worked. That was key in this game.”

Opelka had surprised Canada’s second-seeded Milos Raonic 4-6 7-6(6) 6-3 in their rain-delayed semi-final earlier on Sunday to set up the meeting with the rested Nishioka.

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Nishioka had beaten France’s Ugo Humbert 1-6 6-4 6-0 on Saturday before rain washed out other matches at the Florida tournament.

Opelka’s only other title came a year ago in the New York Open.

The doubles crown was won by Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan as they beat Luke Bambridge and Ben McLachlan 3-6 7-5 (10-5).

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Third-seeded Cristian Garn fended off Italian qualifier Gianluca Mager 7-6 (3) 7-5 in Sunday’s rain-hit final to win the Rio Open.

It was Garin’s second title this year after winning the Cordoba Open in Argentina earlier in February. The 25th-ranked Chilean is projected to make the top 20 when the updated rankings are published Monday.

“The truth is that I am very happy,” said Garin.

“It was an incredible week. It was a week that I can’t even describe it. It was very good in all aspects.

“The first round took a toll on me. To stay the whole day yesterday at the club here, to sleep 4 or 5 hours, to wake up very nervous to play a game that was postponed and it ends up being one of the best weeks of my life. It means a lot to me winning here.”

Despite breaking in the first game of the match, Garin struggled at times against Mager, who beat top-seeded Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals.

Mager had reached the final after conceding only one set in the entire tournament. Hours before the decider he faced a tough challenge in the semi-finals against Hungary’s Attila Balazs.

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Both semi-finals were finished Sunday afternoon after rain halted play shortly after midnight when Garin and Mager had already won the first set.

Garin quickly beat fifth-seeded Borna Coric 6-4 7-5 at the clay-court tournament, but the 128th-ranked Mager had a tougher time in finishing off Balazs, eventually prevailing 7-6 (4) 4-6 7-6 (2).

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos ran out doubles winners after their 6-4 5-7 (10-7) victory over Federico Gaio and Salvatore Caruso.

Tsitsipas defends Marseille Open title

Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3 6-4 on Sunday to win the Marseille Open.

Stefanos Tsitsipas won the Marseille Open for the second successive year as he beat Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3 6-4, while Vasek Pospisil and Nicolas Mahut overcame Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic 6-3 6-4 in the doubles final.

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Source : Sky Sports