Nine- time Italian Open winner Rafael Nadal plays big serving American Reilly Opelka in the semi-finals of the 2021 Italian Open on Saturday, May 15. Get the live streaming options of this Rafael Nadal v Reilly Opelka match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Rafael Nadal v Reilly Opelka Head to Head
This will be the first meeting between the players on tour.
Nadal Clinical Against Zverev
In search of Rome title #10, it has been a challenging week for Rafa Nadal. It has indeed been a difficult few weeks here on the clay for the King of Clay.
Nadal was stopped in search of his 12th Monte Carlo Masters title by Andrey Rublev to kick off the clay swing. This was followed by a title at Barcelona (#12) but not without its own challenges, including having to fend off championship point against Stefanos Tsitsipas. The stern tests continued as Nadal ran into Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals of the Madrid Masters and was eliminated in straight sets.
Coming into Rome where he has won nine times, Nadal had a stiff straight sets win against Italian teenager Jannik Sinner, followed by a marathon against Canadian Denis Shapovalov where the Spaniard saved two match points.
With the odds against him given current form and the loss last week, Nadal faced Zverev in the quarter-finals again. But, this time it was clinical Nadal winning in straight sets and no looking back after the early breaks in each set. Despite a fall that looked troublesome, Nadal was in control throughout the match setting himself up well for the semi-finals and another go at a Rome title.
Opelka Outdoing Expectations On Clay
It has not been a good season thus far for the big American Reilly Opelka. Opening round wins only Down Under at the ATP 250 and Aussie Open started a poor run and coming into Rome with six consecutive losses did nothing to boost the confidence of a big server on a slow surface like clay.
However, Opelka has turned it around here. A straight sets win against veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet was followed by another one against rising Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti. With the sort of form Aslan Karatsev has been in, Opelka was a huge underdog in their round of 16, but he pulled that off in straight sets too.
Up against lower ranked clay court specialist Fedrico Delbonis in the quarters, it was another big serving performance that has put the American in the final four of a tournament that he has never before qualified for the tournament main draw.
Nadal v Opelka Prediction and Tip
The big serving American has done extremely well to get this far especially on the clay. But, the challenge now is as difficult as can be- against the King of Clay.
Expect a straight sets Nadal win.