No. 3-seed Alex de Minaur defeated American Reilly Opelka in a BB&T Atlanta Open semifinal 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-3 on Saturday afternoon to advance to Sunday’s final as the youngest finalist in the history of the Atlanta Open.
The 20-year-old Australian, who entered the semifinals 16-of-16 on service games, maintained his streak, unbroken in 32 service games. Opelka’s first break came midway of the third set, when de Minaur went two straight games.
“I knew coming in, this was going to be an absolute battle,” de Minaur said. “I just had to stay level headed and hopefully things were gonna go my way and thankfully they did.”
De Minaur took the next game for the match’s first two-game lead as he eventually advanced on a 6-3 final set.
On the way to the semifinals, Opelka, the 2019 New York Open champion, eliminated John Isner, the Atlanta Open defending singles champion and No. 1 seed, in the second round in a thrilling three-tiebreak match.
De Minaur knew not to underestimate his unseeded 21-year-old opponent Saturday.
“You got to know, pretty much, if you get broken, you’re going to lose the first set, or whatever set it is,” de Minaur said of his opponent, “He’s got an unbelievable weapon.”
But Opelka was not as fortunate in the semifinal as he was against Georgia alumnus Isner.
Opelka led almost the entirety of the first set, trading games with the Australian. De Minaur nearly took the lead at 4-all with two advantages, but Opelka remained in the leading position through the remainder of the set and into a tiebreak. De Minaur took the lead midway through the tiebreak to win the 48-minute first set 7-6(4).
The second set proceeded in similar fashion, but with de Minaur leading into the tiebreak. Opelka and de Minaur traded every game with six ties. In the tiebreak, Opelka took a two-point lead at 4-2, before trading games for the remainder of the tiebreak to take the second-set win.
Again in the third, Opelka and de Minaur traded the first four games, before de Minaur finally broke the American to take three-straight for a critical two-game lead, the first of the match. The pair tugged back-and-fourth again before de Minaur defeated Opelka to advance to the final.
“Every point I could win on his serve was going to help me in the long run,” de Minaur said. “At the end, I managed to guess the right way on his serve and got the break and obviously a huge relief.”
De Minaur will play the victor of Saturday night’s last singles semifinal match between Taylor Fritz, a No. 2-seed American who ousted Georgia Tech’s Kevin King in the second round, and Cameron Norrie of Great Britian.
The first match of the day Saturday – a doubles semifinal between American pair Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow and the No. 2-seeded pair of Great Britain’s Dominic Inglot and USA’s Austin Krajicek – ended with Inglot and Krajicek advancing to Sunday’s final. Sock and Withrow earned a tiebreak in the first set, but were unable to take the set. Inglot and Krajicek took the second set to advance to the finals 7-6, 6-3.
Their championship opponents, determined late Saturday night, will be either No. 4-seed Radu Albot and Artem Sitak or No. 1-seed Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, American brothers and two-time Atlanta Open doubles champions.
The champions of the singles and doubles tournaments will be determined Sunday starting at 5 p.m., with singles at Atlantic Station followed by doubles.
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