Reilly Opelka is clearly comfortable in New York and the 6’11’ West Palm Beach, Fla. native has found a second home here in the Big Apple.
Earlier this year, Opelka lifted the first ATP trophy of his career at the New York Open on Long Island, and on Monday, he ousted 11th seeded Italian Fabio Fognini in straight sets in the opening round of the US Open.
After rolling through the first two sets, Opelka had a chance to serve out the match in the third set leading 6-5. But Fognini would get the break to stay in the match, and came from 2-5 down in the tiebreak to force the match into a fourth set.
But Opelka would not let it go any further, securing the set’s only break point and holding serve throughout to advance with the 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3.
“I was up a break earlier in the third, and I served for it,” said Opelka “I was comfortable knowing that I had multiple chances to break him in each set, so I knew that based on the history the match there was no reason I wouldn’t have more chances.”
Opelka moves on to play the winner of Dominik Koepfer and Jaume Munar.
Defending champion and top-ranked Novak Djokovic played solid tennis inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, beating Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 in under two hours.
Djokovic will play Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina next after Londero ousted American Sam Querrey 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(3), 7-5.
Daniil Medvedev, the fifth-seeded Russian who enters the US Open having played well during the US Open Series including a title in Cincinnati, defeated India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 to secure his spot in the second round,
Medvedev takes on Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien next.
Chris Eubanks dropped a tough five-set match to 31st seed Cristian Garin, who came back to win 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3. He draws Australian Alex de Minaur next. De Minaur won 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(6), 7-5 against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Former finalist Kei Nishikori booked his spot in the second round as he led Argentinian qualifier Marco Trungelliti 6-1, 4-1 before he was forced to retire. Awaiting Nishikori is American Bradley Klahn who rolled into the next round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win over Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro.
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org