Reilly Opelka at the French Open

‘Clay is not my thing. It’s probably a fluke’ – Reilly Opelka reaches Rome semi-finals


Reilly Opelka reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final after beating Federico Delbonis at the Italian Open in Rome on Friday.

The American defeated the Argentine 7-5, 7-6 (7-2) in the quarter-finals of the Masters 1000 event. The 23-year-old will face nine-time champion Rafael Nadal in the last four.

The world No. 47 had lost six matches in a row heading into Rome – where he has now won four matches without dropping a set.

“I am surprised. Clay is not really my thing. [It is] not much of an American thing. It is probably just a fluke, but I’ll run with it,” Opelka said in his post-match interview.

“I’ve definitely served well. I hit my spots really well today, especially in big moments. I think that has been critical. I have stayed calm [and on] big points, I have delivered.

“I’ve made some adjustments on my serve recently and I think it’s starting to pay off. I’m seeing some improvements, so I don’t think it’s coincidence that things are starting to click now.

“I did get COVID, I wish I could use that as an excuse. But the first 10 weeks of the year I just didn’t play well. It wasn’t COVID related at all.”

Reilly Opelka at the French Open
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