Opelka’s 1st serve gets him past Sock, into Delray quarters

Delray Beach Open
George Walker/Getty Images
2 Comments

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Reilly Opelka’s winning streak in tiebreakers ended. His winning streak at the Delray Beach Open continued.

The second-seeded Opelka rode an unbeatable first serve into the Delray quarterfinals, beating Jack Sock 6-7 (6), 7-6 (4), 6-1. It was Opelka’s sixth consecutive victory at Delray, where he was the 2020 champion.

Opelka had 21 aces, just one double-fault, and won a staggering 53 of 56 points when he landed a first serve. He faced only one break point all day, which he saved.

“I competed really well,” Opelka said.

Opelka will face seventh-seeded Adrian Mannarino in the quarterfinals. Mannarino needed 3 hours, 3 minutes to beat Brandon Nakashima 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 on Thursday night.

Opelka had a pair of unforced errors to end the first set, as Sock won the opening tiebreaker – Opelka’s first loss in his last seven tiebreaks, after going 6-0 in those situations on his way to winning a tournament in Dallas two weeks ago.

But he knotted the match by winning a second-set breaker, then ran away in the third set.

“He was starting to fatigue a lot,” Opelka said.

Also moving into the quarterfinals with a win Thursday was John Millman, who defeated Marcus Giron 6-3, 7-6 (6). Millman has played five sets in his two matches at Delray; four have gone to tiebreakers.

Millman will meet either No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov or Mitchell Krueger in the quarterfinals.

All four quarterfinals are scheduled for Friday. Top-seeded Cameron Norrie meets Sebastian Korda in a rematch of a 2021 Delray semifinal, and No. 4 seed Tommy Paul will play Stefan Kozlov. The Opelka-Mannarino match will be at night, as will Millman’s match against either Dimitrov or Krueger.

Alycia Parks reaches 1st WTA quarterfinal in Ostrava

alycia parks
Robert Prange/Getty Images
2 Comments

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.

The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.

The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.

“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.

Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.

Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.

Djokovic beats Van de Zandschulp to reach Astana quarters

novak djokovic
Nir Keidar/Getty Images
1 Comment

ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.

Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.

“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.