Thursday Review + Friday Preview
DEFENDING CHAMPION REILLY OPELKA SHAKES OFF RUST TO DEFEAT YOSHIHITO NISHIOKA IN SECOND ROUND, 6-4, 6-4
Photo credit: NY Open/Alex Smith
- Opelka is the highest remaining seed.
- Jordan Thompson avenged a straight sets loss to Isner in the quarterfinals here last year. It was Thompson’s first win over Isner in four tries. Thompson will face unseeded Andreas Seppi in the quarterfinals.
- In the first match of the day, eighth seeded Kyle Edmund defeated Dominik Koepfer 6-2, 6-4.
A lot has happened to Reilly Opelka since he won his first ATP Tour singles title here a year ago, but not a lot of tennis has happened for the 6-foot-11 American since an epic first round loss to world No. 12 Fabio Fognini that ended in a fifth set tiebreaker, 10-5, after three and a half hours.
Opelka started his New York Open title defense in shaky fashion yesterday – more than three weeks since his last match, the aforementioned loss in Melbourne. He needed 20 point and 8 deuces to hold serve in the first game of the match. Opelka was also unable to sink his teeth in the match on his return game, failing to win a point in either of Nishioka’s first two service games. Momentum began to shift however, with Nishioka serving to stay in the first set at 5-4. Opelka broke at love to take the opening set.
“Obviously (the loss was) frustrating, but you learn to live with losing in tennis. I’m not scared to lose, especially with [Fabio] Fognini,” said Opelka “I was a little more frustrated with knowing I had a long break before I played in the New York Open. I thought about even playing some of the challengers just to get some matches in.”
The storyline in the second set mimicked the first. Opelka earned the only break of the set easily at 5-4. Nishioka began making errors from the baseline that he had not been making earlier, and was visibly upset with himself standing on the baseline and talking out loud to himself and the ball.
The yeoman’s effort gets Opelka a quarterfinal meeting with qualifier Jason Jung. Jung knocked off No. 7 seed Cameron Norrie, 6-4, 6-4, to advance to his second consecutive New York Open quarterfinal and third ATP quarterfinal of his career.