Friday, 5 August 2016

18yo Reilly Opelka in Atlanta quarters

The Opening Ceremony of the Rio Olympics is just hours away and three international tennis tournaments are drawing towards a close around the world before the big event.  One of them is in Brazil and the final of the WTA Florianopolis event will be decided between 6th seed Timea Babos of Hungary and 2nd seed Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania.
Babos defeated another Romanian, Ana Bogdan in the semi finals - Bogdan, ranked 127 in the world, had earlier shocked the tournament with her upset win over top seed Jelena Jankovic in the second round, and had not dropped a set until the Babos match.
Begu, meanwhile must be relieved to have regained the form which saw her play a prominent part throughout the major clay court events this year.  She lost one set en route to the final - the first set of the tournament - and it was to a Brazilian lucky loser from qualifying, Laura Pigossi, ranked 384.  Since that scare, Irina-Camelia has looked sharp, breaking opponents' serves seemingly at will, third seed Monica Puig her semi final victim.

In Atlanta, the top two seeds, John Isner and Nick Kyrgios, have both reached the quarter finals.  Isner faces promising young American Taylor Fritz for a semi final spot, and Kyrgios has the likely tougher test - 5th seed Fernando Verdasco.
Already the event has lost its third, fourth and sixth seeds - Kevin Anderson, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez respectively.
Anderson at 203cm is about the tallest there is on tour, but he lost out in the height stakes when facing off against American teenager and wildcard Reilly Opelka.  At 210cm the 18 year old, ranked 837 in the world, belted 20 aces past the South African in a thrilling display which ultimately saw him win 6-7 6-3 7-5.  
Opelka won 80% of points when his first serve hit the mark, and he created an incredible 18 break point opportunities on the Anderson serve.  He could only convert four of those, but that was all he needed.
Reilly Opeka is in the quarter finals of the Atlanta event, and whether he goes further or not, he is a young player worth following - a ranking of 837 appears set to change for the better by lots and rapidly.

In Nanchang, two semi finalists are known - sixth seed American Vania King defeated fifth seed Kai-Lin Zhang from China and Japan's Misa Eguchi overcame China's Fangzhou Liu in two of the quarter finals.

The other quarter finals are being contested between Francesca Schiavone (Italy) and Risa Ozaki (Japan) in one, and Ying-Ying Duan (China) and Kurumi Nara (Japan) in the other.

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