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By Tennis Now | Thursday, October 15, 2020

 
Reilly Opelka

Reilly Opelka rallied past top-seeded Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 at the St. Petersburg Open for his biggest career win.

Photo credit: BB&T Atlanta Open Facebook

Reilly Opelka ripped a forehand bolt to jolt Daniil Medvedev right out of St. Petersburg.

Opelka crushed a crosscourt forehand off the sideline toppling defending-champion Medvedev 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 at the St. Petersburg Open.

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That strike sent the 6'11" American into his fourth quarterfinal of the year and sent Medvedev over the emotional edge.

The sixth-ranked Russian tomahawked his Tecnifibre racquet to the court in frustration after his reign was ruptured.




It is the biggest win, in terms of ranking, in Opelka's career. Opelka defeated world No. 8 Matteo Berrettini at the Western & Southern Open in August equaling his previous-best win, an upset of eighth-ranked Jack Sock at the 2018 Delray Beach.

Opelka saved seven of nine break points overall, including fighting off four break points in the final set and lifted his level as the match progressed.

"Obviously the serve it was ugly the first set and a half," Opelka said afterward. "I feel I barely won any points on his serve. Part of that is just because of my opponent.

"I have to overplay, I have to go a little bit bigger, because Daniil is an absolute nightmare to play especially for a guy like me because he just runs every ball down."

Serving at 4-5, Medvedev was up 30-love and two points from leveling the decider when Opelka began swinging freely, tagging forehands and eventually toppling the champion.

"It's always a tough match playing one of the best players in the world, especially at home," Opelka said. "A great win for me. I have a tough opponent. I really believe he's one of the best players in the world right now."

Tennis Express

The towering American served 11 aces scoring his second straight three-set comeback. The 36th-ranked American is now 6-6 lifetime vs. Top 10 opponents. Next up for Opelka is a quarterfinal vs. Borna Coric.

The seventh-seeded Coric was a 6-3, 7-5 victor over wild card Roman Safiullin.

Earlier, third-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev was pushed to the brink before battling by Ugo Humbert 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.



Rublev won 42 of 47 first-serve points and erupted with a shout after raising his record to 31-7 on the season.

Hunting for his fourth title of the season, Rublev will face British left-hander Cameron Norrie for a place in the final four.

No. 2-seeded Denis Shapovalov saved all five break points he faced dismissing Belarusian baseliner Ilya Ivashka 6-1, 6-4 in 66 minutes.

Shapovalov will face three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka for a spot in the semifinals.

 

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