2022 in Review: Reilly Opelka tops Nick Kyrgios
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 2383
Two great servers, Reilly Opelka and Nick Kyrgios, met in the Houston semi-final. The home player scored his second victory over the Aussie from as many duels thanks to a 6-3, 7-5 triumph in 69 minutes. Reilly fired 18 aces and dropped only ten points behind the initial shot.
Kyrgios turned them into one break from the only opportunity, and he needed more after playing against seven break points. Nick got broken three times from six chances offered to his opponent to finish his run in the last four.
Thus, Opelka set an all-American title clash against another giant server, John Isner. Reilly held at love in the encounter's first game, and Nick blasted a powerful serve in the next one for 1-1. The American closed the third game after the Aussie's loose backhand and created a break chance in the next one after Kyrgios' careless forehand.
Reilly Opelka defeated Nick Kyrgios in the Houston semi-final.
Reilly returned well and drew the rival's mistake from the baseline to clinch it and open an early 3-1 advantage. Opelka closed the fifth game with an ace that cemented his break.
Kyrgios served well in game six and produced four quick points to bring it home. Reilly clinched the seventh game with an ace for a 5-2 advantage, keeping the pressure on the other side. Nick secured the eighth game with a service winner to extend the battle.
Opelka sealed the opener with a hold at love in the next one for 6-3 in under half an hour, doing everything right so far and hoping for more in set number two. Kyrgios kicked off the second set with a forehand winner, and Opelka responded with an ace down the T line for a hold at love and 1-1.
Nick grabbed the third game with a service winner, and Reilly responded with another ace for 2-2. The Aussie sprayed a forehand error in game five and faced two break points. He stayed calm and denied them to remain on the positive side.
Opelka closed the sixth game with an ace and played well on the return in the next one. The American converted the second break chance with a forehand crosscourt winner to build a 4-3 advantage and move closer to the finish line.
Suddenly, he played a terrible forehand in game eight and lost serve after Nick's forehand crosscourt winner. The Aussie clinched the third straight game for a 5-4 lead, and the American took the next one with an unreturned serve.
Serving at 5-5, Kyrgios lost his temper over a questionable call and received a point penalty to push Opelka 6-5 up. Reilly sealed the deal with four service winners in game 12 for a place in his sixth ATP final.