Heading to Rome with one Masters 1000 win on clay on his tally, the 23-year-old American Reilly Opelka has found his A-game at Foro Italico to reach the quarters. The giant server took down the Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev 7-6, 6-4 in an hour and 37 minutes for his second Masters 1000 quarter-final.
Reilly won three points more than Aslan and fended off both break chances he faced to keep the pressure on the other side of the net. Karatsev wasted two set points in the opening set tie break and got broken once in set number two to finish his run in the third round.
It was a rock-solid performance behind the initial shot from both players in the first set, and they reached a tie break in under 45 minutes. From 6-4 down, Opelka saved two set points and sealed it with a powerful forehand down the line winner at 7-6 for a massive boost.
In the pivotal moment, the American secured a break at 1-1 in the second set, defending his backhand nicely and holding after deuce a few minutes later to open a 3-1 gap. Serving at 4-3, Reilly erased two break points with aces and moved over the top with three booming serves in game ten.
Federico Delbonis advanced to his first Masters 1000 quarter-final at 30 thanks to a 7-6, 6-1 victory over the struggling Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, Reilly Opelka and Federico Delbonis are through to the QF.
The Argentine lost serve once and produced three breaks that carried him throw, prevailing in the opener after an hour and 12 minutes and storming over the rival in set number two to reach the last eight in style.
Federico saved a set point at 4-5 in the first set with a service winner and fired another at 6-3 in the tie break for a massive boost. Felix lost the ground in set number two, suffering back-to-back breaks to propel Federico through and experience another tough loss.
In the battle of the 5th and 9th seeds, Stefanos Tsitsipas toppled Matteo Berrettini 7-6, 6-2 for his eighth quarter-final of the season. Both players had more winners than unforced errors, and it was Tsitsipas who prevailed in the decisive moments of the opening set and used that momentum in the second to set the Novak Djokovic clash.
They reached the tie break after only 40 minutes in the first set, with no chances for the returners. From 3-1 down, Stefanos claimed the last six points to win it 7-3 and become a favorite ahead of set number two. The Madrid finalist lost pace in set number two, getting broken in games three and seven to propel Stefanos over the top.