Reilly Opelka of the US will take on Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the first round of the 2022 Australian Open on Monday, January 17. Get the live streaming options of this Reilly Opelka v Kevin Anderson match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Reilly Opelka v Kevin Anderson Head to Head
Opelka and Anderson have been involved in just one career head-to-head meeting till date. Their only meeting on court came in the last 16 at Atlanta in 2016. Opelka prevailed in straight sets.
Opelka Hoping to Start Oz Open on a Winning Note
The big-serving American will head into the season’s first Grand Slam on the back of a semifinal finish at the Sydney International. Opening his campaign with a clash with Jordan Thompson, Opelka cantered to a 6-3 win in the first set.
Going great guns in the second, firing aces and winners at will, the 6’11” American won by an even bigger margin to eventually coast to a victory in straight sets. The win saw him set up a quarter-final meeting with with fellow countryman Brandon Nakashima.
Fighting off stiff resistance from Nakashima, who made waves in the North American hard court leg in the latter half of last season, Opelka took the opening set via tiebreak.
However, the giant American came into his own in the second as he turned the screws on his fellow countryman, opening up a healthy lead and keeping his nose significantly in front to eventually pull off a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 win.
Running into three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray in the last-four clash, Opelka again won the opening set through a tiebreak but slipped on the slick as it were thereafter, as the Briton found his full range to tame the big-server in the next two sets, eventually sending him crashing out of the tournament.
However, even in defeat, there were enough positives for Opelka to take into his opening clash at the Australian Open with veteran South African star Kevin Anderson.
Giving him more confidence going into the tie is his victory in their only previous head-to-head clash in Atlanta in 2016.
Anderson Eyeing a Good Day in Office Against Opelka
Though over the hill and well past his best years at the top level, Anderson can still spring a surprise or two on his opponents on his good tennis days.
However, at 35, it might be too much of an ask for the big South African to tame an opponent who is not only younger than himself but is also in fine fettle with regard to his game.
Opelka is coming off a last-four finish at his last event, the Sydney International, and will start as favorite having won their only previous head-to-head clash.
But then, Anderson knows a thing or two about lifting his game at the biggest stage and making a mockery of rankings and would hope that he still has enough fire in him to gun for his maiden Grand Slam title.
Opelka v Anderson Prediction and Tip
Comfortably ahead of Anderson in terms of current ranking places, Opelka woud start as firm favorite in this first-round clash. However, the wily South African may still have a trick or two up his sleeve to take down the American.