ATP Atlanta: Reilly Opelka, Alex de Minaur and Taylor Fritz lead young guns


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ATP Atlanta: Reilly Opelka, Alex de Minaur and Taylor Fritz lead young guns

Reilly Opelka is through to the second semi-final of the season, beating Daniel Evans 7-6, 7-5 in an hour and 35 minutes. The American blasted 23 aces and lost 17 points on serve, never facing a break point and keeping the pressure on the Briton.

Daniel fought well to repel two out of three break chances, losing the edge in the pivotal moments to send the youngster into the semi-final. Evans repelled two break points in the eighth game to reach the tie break that Reilly took 7-3 with four mini-breaks.

Both players served great in the first ten games of the second set before Opelka claimed four straight points on the return to move 6-5 up, sealing the deal with four winners in game 12 to stay on the title course. The Briton Cameron Norrie is through to the third semi-final in 2019, ousting the young Aussie Alexei Popyrin 7-5 6-4 in an hour and 35 minutes.

It was a close battle and Norrie won just four points more overall, saving four out of six break points and scoring four breaks from nine chances to move over the top. Cameron saved a break point in the second and eight games, converting the fourth opportunity at 5-5 to break Alexei and forge the lead.

Serving for the set, Norrie hit a service winner to grab it 7-5, building the momentum and securing another break at the beginning of set number two after a forehand down the line winner. Popyrin broke back in the very next game but struggled under the boiling sun to remain on the desired level, suffering a break at 2-2 and pulling it back a few minutes later when a left-hander hit a double fault.

Still, Norrie hit another forehand winner at 4-4 to move in front, closing the encounter with a service winner in game ten to book the spot in the semi-final. The 3rd seed Alex de Minaur stayed on the court for just 39 minutes, beating the fellow Aussie Bernard Tomic 6-2, 3-0, as Tomic had to retire due to an injury.

The 2nd seed Taylor Fritz toppled another young gun Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1, 7-6 in 66 minutes, losing 13 points on serve and never facing a break point. Kecmanovic fought bravely in set number two after a slow start but it wasn't enough at least for a set, finishing his run in the quarters and earning more points in the battle for the spot at the NextGen Masters.

Taylor grabbed a break already in game two and extended the advantage with another break after a backhand down the line winner that sent him 4-0 up. The American clinched the opener with another backhand winner in game seven for a 6-1, hoping for more of the same in set number two as well.

Kecmanovic raised his level to follow Fritz's pace, with both losing nine points overall in service games to set up a tie break that Taylor opened with a mini-break after a forced error. A double fault pushed Miomir 5-0 down and Fritz sealed the deal in the eighth point when the Serb sprayed a backhand error, roaring into the semi-final and staying on the course for the second title in a month after conquering Eastbourne in June.