In the battle of the 2nd and 4th seeds that couldn't go on on Saturday due to rain, Reilly Opelka took down a former Delray Beach finalist Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 in two hours and seven minutes, saving a match point and advancing into the second ATP final after New Yor last year.
At Wimbledon 2019, Milos defeated Reilly in straight sets and had a chance to repeat that today, taking the opening set with an early break and rattling off six points in a row in the second set tie break to overcome a 5-0 deficit and move a point away from a win, with Opelka fending off that match point to steal the set and dominate in the decider to reach the title match.
The younger player faced only two break chances, with the second one at 4-4 in the second set that could have cost him dearly had Raonic converted it. Still, the American remained unbroken after the first game of the match, surviving that second set and earning back-to-back breaks in the decider to cross the finish line first.
Opelka hit two straight double faults to drop serve at the beginning of the match, with Raonic producing five rock-solid holds to secure the opener 6-4 with a service winner in game ten. Home player created his first break chance at 3-2 in set number two, with Raonic erasing it with a service winner and moving closer to the finish line after a beak opportunity at 4-4 thanks to a volley winner.
Reilly landed a booming serve to get out of trouble and that gave him momentum ahead of the tie break where he fired two service winners to forge a massive 5-0 advantage. Out of sudden, Milos started to climb back and grabbed six straight points for a match point, denied by an ace on the T line from Opelka who forced an error from the Canadian at 7-6 to steal the set and force a decider where he had the upper hand now.
The returners grabbed only seven points in the first six games of the final set before Raonic faced troubles behind the initial shot, spraying a backhand error to fall 4-3 behind, serving to stay in the match at 3-5. Playing his best return game, Opelka earned three match points with a backhand down the line winner, seizing the first to move over the top and celebrate victory in style.
In just a couple of hours, Reilly will play against Yoshihito Nishioka for the title, hoping to preserve energy and give his best for the second time this afternoon.