Australian Open: Stefanos Tsitsipas reacts to victory over Nadal
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Reilly Opelka has praised his Toronto opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas and revealed the reason he believes the Greek recently reached a career-high world No 3 ranking. Tsitsipas overtook Rafael Nadal in the official ATP rankings when they were updated on Monday (August 9). The 6’11 American is facing off against the newly crowned top-three player at the National Bank Open.
Ahead of their last-four clash, Opelka said he was “happy” to face Tsitsipas for a spot in the final of a Masters 1000.
The big-serving American is playing in just his second Masters semi-final, having reached his first earlier this year in Rome, while his opponent already has a title at this level under his belt.
As well as winning his first 1000-point title in Monte Carlo this spring, Tsitsipas already has an ATP Finals trophy under his belt from 2019, and followed up his clay-court success this season with a debut Grand Slam final at Roland Garros.
Opelka, who beat Roberto Bautista Agut to claim a spot in the final four in Canada, called his clash with Tsitsipas a “good test”.
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“It will be a good test against one of the best in the world. I’m happy for the matchup.
“If you’re playing Stefanos, it means you’re having a good week. It’s a big moment, it’s a big match because he’s one of the best in the world,” he said.
As well as celebrating his 23rd birthday this week, the seven-time ATP title winner reached a career-high ranking of No 3 as he overtook Nadal in the rankings, with the Spaniard dropping to in the world.
Speaking on Tsitsipas’ game style, Opelka revealed the reason he believes the Greek was able to dethrone the 20-time Grand Slam champion for the top three ranking.
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“He can go anywhere with his forehand. He’s one of the few guys that can take the ball early, take time away, change direction. He can do anything he wants with it [forehand].
“So, yeah, I would say that’s the biggest reason why he’s No 3 in the world.”
Tsitsipas overcame Casper Ruud in his quarter-final at the National Bank Open, with his Norwegian opponent fresh off of winning three back-to-back titles in Sweden, Switzerland and Austria.
Speaking after his speedy 6-1 6-4 win, the recent French Open finalist shared the reason he thought he won the match.
He said: “Well, you know, I was close from the baseline. I was trying to come in as much as possible, take the balls early, approach most of my shots. You know, I guess that was his initial reaction, to start rushing and go for more.
“I saw that, and, you know, obviously I feel like he would realize that and would switch up his game and change a few things, which he eventually did in the second set.”
Speaking on the second set, where Ruud was able to gain some momentum, he added: “It also took some time for me to get back into the game after leaving the court for a few minutes.
“Yeah, it was very close to being an excellent game. My intentions were clear from the very beginning. I was not doubting myself in any way and kept things simple. Just played clean, aggressive tennis.”
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