The 22-year-old Reilly Opelka is back inside the top-40 after claiming the second career title in Delray Beach, overcoming two tough obstacles to go home with a trophy. That shouldn't take long, as Reilly lives some ten minutes away from the Stadium, enjoying this event big time and attending to return many times in the future.
It was a challenging day at the office for one of the best servers in the game, having to save a match point against Milos Raonic in a rain-delayed semi-final, take a couple of hours to rest and face Yoshihito Nishioka in the final.
After more than four hours of play, Opelka took down both in three sets to celebrate the crown, fending off four out of six break chances and blasting almost 50 aces to cross the finish line and become the champion. Speaking after the win against Nishioka, Reilly said he likes those conditions much more than those in New York where he won the title a year ago, struggling with the wind a little bit but still doing enough to go all the way and grab the trophy.
"I'm incredibly proud of the way I won two matches today; I knew the day was going to be a brutal one," Opelka said. "As was expected, it was very hard against Milos, that was a physical match and the last player you want to face when you are tired is Yoshihito Nishioka.
Against Yoshihito, I stayed focused and grabbed two breaks in the final set, which happens only once in ten years in my case. Physically I was feeling pretty good; I was fine with the fact we could have played more tennis had he broke back.
I love playing at home; my house is ten minutes away from the Stadium. I've been here for the past ten years; I'm very comfortable playing here. It's going to be an event I play a lot for the rest of my career just because I plan on staying in South Florida.
The conditions were much different last week in New York, indoors, but much slower. These are much better conditions for me to play against Nishioka and I did a good job."