Towering American Reilly Opelka beat Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in three sets to win his second career ATP Tour title at the Delray Beach Open in Florida on Sunday.
The fourth-seeded Opelka clinched victory in style, pounding his 27th ace of the match down the centre line for a 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2 triumph.
“I’m just really proud of the way I fought in the third set,” Opelka said. “I got an early break and I broke again. Physically I was feeling pretty good. If he broke me and we had to play more tennis, I was fine.”
Opelka won the first set after crushing a forehand at 6-5 to earn his third set point.
A cross-court backhand passing shot that Nishioka couldn’t handle ended the set and sent Opelka, sprinting to his chair, smacking his chest in celebration.
Nishioka forced a tiebreaker in the second, which he won when Opelka sent a groundstroke long.
But the Japanese player double-faulted in the first game of the third set to give Opelka the break and the 22-year-old American finished off the match with his big ace.
Opelka had surprised Canada’s second-seeded Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-6 (6/8), 6-3 in their rain-delayed semifinal earlier on Sunday to set up the meeting with the rested Nishioka.
Nishioka had beaten France’s Ugo Humbert 1-6, 6-4, 6-0 on Saturday before rain washed out other matches at the Florida tournament.
Opelka’s only other title came a year ago in the New York Open.