Opelka Kicks Off New York Title Defence With Serving Clinic
Reilly Opelka put on a serving masterclass in last year’s New York Open, firing 156 aces throughout the week to secure his maiden ATP Tour title. The third-seeded American appears primed for another big serving display this year, landing 20 aces on Thursday to defeat Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 6-4.
The 22-year-old grabbed the lone break in each set to reach the quarter-finals after 76 minutes. Opelka picked up his first win of the season after suffering tight first-round defeats in Adelaide and the Australian Open.
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Next up for the defending champion is qualifier Jason Jung, who continued his inspired tennis at this event to upset seventh-seeded Brit Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-4. Both of Jung’s ATP Tour quarter-finals, and four of his six ATP Tour main draw wins, have come in New York.
The 30-year-old from Chinese Taipei also showed the benefits of his grueling off-season. Jung effortlessly tracked down heavy shots from Norrie throughout the match that would be winners against many players.
“I felt like my legs let me down a few times in big matches last year that could have had a greater impact on my year-end [FedEx ATP] Ranking,” Jung said. “I could still run and fight, but though the head was willing, the body often was often not. Sometimes, I could feel my legs getting heavy and it probably affected my shot selection, and not for the better.”
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Eighth seed Kyle Edmund avoided having the Brits go 0-2 in the day session by battling past German Dominik Koepfer 6-2, 6-4. Edmund converted four of seven break points and dictated the tempo in most of their baseline rallies.
Awaiting him in the last eight is South Korean Soonwoo Kwon, who upset second-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic on Wednesday.