Wild card Reilly Opelka reached his first ATP World Tour semi-final after downing Atlanta native Donald Young 6-4, 6-4 at the BB&T Atlanta Open on Friday. The 18 year old won his third consecutive tour-level singles match after going 0-2 to start his career and is the tallest player on the ATP World Tour at 6’11”, tied with Ivo Karlovic.
“In the first set, he had a couple of break points. I was able to step up with some big serves,” Opelka said. “Then I started serving even better, and he barely had any chances in the second set. I have a lot of belief in my game and in my level right now.
“I’ve been doing a really good job with my movement, winning points on my opponent’s serve. The way I am serving now, I know I can at least get to a tie-break. But being able to hit good returns and passing shots is huge.”
Opelka's serve remains his most powerful weapon, accounting for 10 aces on the day. However, the Michigan native was also able to rely on his return of serve to put Young on the back foot. Opelka won 12 of 20 points against Young’s second delivery and broke his opponent twice in the 71-minute win.
In an all-American semi-final, Opelka will face top seed John Isner, who defeated #NextGen player Taylor Fritz 7-5, 6-4. Isner was broken while serving for the first set at 5-4, but roared back to claim the next two games. He finished with 20 aces and won 86 per cent of first-serve points in his first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting with Fritz. The 6'10" Isner has now won 14 matches in a row in Atlanta and is aiming for his fourth consecutive title at the event.