Opelka fires 31 aces on way to Basel semifinals

Opelka ended his afternoon when he set up two match points with an ace and then caught Bautista Agut wrong-footed with a winner into the empty court on his first chance.

Reilly Opelka in action against Roberto Bautista Agut in Basel on Friday.   -  REUTERS

 

Reilly Opelka fired 31 aces to reach the fifth semifinal of his career on Friday as he beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at the Swiss Indoors.

The 37th-ranked American’s victory in 93 minutes also slowed the progress of his Spanish opponent in the chase for one of the two remaining places at the ATP Finals in London next month.

Opelka has reached four of his five semifinals this season — most recently at the start of the month in Tokyo — as the 22-year-old works to broaden his game beyond just a huge serve.

The 6ft 11in (2.11m) giant earned the only title of his career last February at Long Island, New York.

Opelka ended his afternoon when he set up two match points with an ace and then caught Bautista Agut wrong-footed with a winner into the empty court on his first chance.

READ| Dominic Thiem ends Fernando Verdasco hoodoo in Vienna

He will next play either Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff or Australian Alex de Minaur for a place in the final.

Nine-time champion and top seed Roger Federer had already made sure of his spot in the semifinals after Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka withdrew from their last-eight tie with a lower back injury just an hour after seeing off Frances Tiafoe in a gruelling second round clash on Thursday night.

On Saturday, Federer will face either Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic for a spot in Sunday’s final.

The results:

Roger Federer (SUI x1) bt Stan Wawrinka (SUI x7) - walkover

Reilly Opelka (USA) bt Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x4) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3

Alex De Minaur (AUS) bt Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)
 

At ATP Vienna quarterfinals:

Dominic Thiem (AUT x1) bt Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 5-0 - retired

Matteo Berrettini (ITA x3) bt Andrey Rublev (RUS) 7-5, 7-6 (7/4)

Gael Monfils (FRA x4) bt Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 7-5, 6-1

Diego Schwartzman (ARG x5) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x2) 7-6 (8/6), 6-2

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