American Reilly Opelka notched the biggest win of his career on Saturday when he upset third-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (2), 7-6 (4), 6-4 to reach the final of the National Bank Open in Toronto.
Opelka recorded 46 winners, including 16 aces, while beating a Top-5 player for the first time in his career. Tsitsipas is ranked third.
Opelka will face either top-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia or American John Isner in the title match. The two were slated to meet Saturday night.
The 6-foot-11 Opelka is in position to win his third career title because he was able to handle the late-match pressure better than he has in the past.
“I think it is something that comes with maturity and time and playing a lot of matches under stress,” the 23-year-old Opelka said afterward.
Tsitsipas delivered 10 aces but his serve was inconsistent as he had seven double faults in the match that took two hours, 32 minutes. He had 23 winners and 22 unforced errors.
Opelka said he was impressed with how well Tsitsipas handled some of his high-intensity serves.
“Stefanos has definitely improved his returning,” Opelka said. “Come 5-5 in the first set, a lot of balls started to come back. He is a thinker and has a high tennis IQ, so it was expected, but that is what separates him from the rest of the pack.”
–Field Level Media