Reilly Opelka: 'I played sharp tennis in crucial moments, it carried me towards win'


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Reilly Opelka: 'I played sharp tennis in crucial moments, it carried me towards win'

The defending champion Reilly Opelka fired 20 aces and saved all four break chances to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 15 minutes in the second round in New York. The Japanese fought well but it wasn't enough for at least a set, losing serve in the closing stages of both sets to finish his journey in the second round and propel Reilly through.

The American survived eight deuces and two break chances in the opening game of the match before he settled into the desired rhythm, saving them with winners and avoiding an early setback. Nishioka did well to stay in touch at 3-4 after erasing two break points before Reilly broke him at love two games later for a 6-4 after a forehand error from a left-hander.

Facing two break points at 4-4 in set number two, Opelka landed two booming serves to get out of troubles, holding with an ace and stealing the rival's serve at 15 in the next game to seal the deal and make a winning start.

"I thought I was pretty clean; I was pretty committed to playing the same style the whole match," said Opelka. "Aggressive tennis from the beginning, clean and organized. I served well and handled adversity well.

I came up with some good serves on those break points I had to play against, with some good forehands and sharp tennis when it mattered the most. It's a long turnaround from coming from Australia, which was early January, all the way to here.

When you go three weeks without a competitive match, you get a little rusty. I think that showed in the first five minutes. Jason Jung is a tough matchup; Kevin Anderson couldn't beat him. We have a similar game; he hits the ball low and, as a big guy, you feel like you're hitting up on every ball and he's hitting down on every ball - which isn't fun.

I think a lot is going to come down on how I serve and how I handle the big moments in the match; if I take my chances and how I execute."