Fixture: (WC) Stan Wawrinka vs (14) Reilly Opelka
Date: 9 May 2022
Tournament: Italian Open 2022.
Round: First round (Round of 64).
Venue: Rome, Italy.
Category: ATP Masters 1000.
Prize money: €6,008,725.
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video | India - Voot & Sports 18.
Stan Wawrinka vs Reilly Opelka Preview
Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka will face 14th seed Reilly Opelka in the first round of the Italian Open on Monday.
The Swiss, who was out of action for several months, made his comeback at the ATP Challenger tournament in Marbella, losing to Elias Ymer in straight sets. Wawrinka's first tournament on the ATP tour since March 2021 was at the Monte-Carlo Masters. The Swiss wildcard took the first set against Alexander Bublik but lost the next two to bow out.
Opelka, meanwhile, has won 17 of his 25 matches this season, capturing titles in Dallas and Houston. The American started his 2022 campaign with a first-round exit at the Melbourne 250 tournament before losing to Andy Murray in the Sydney semifinals. He reached the third round of the Australian Open, where he lost to Denis Shapovalov.
The 24-year-old's first title of the season came at the Dallas Open, where he beat Jenson Brooksby in the final. He also reached the final at Delray Beach, before losing to Cameron Norrie in the title match.
The American's second title in 2022 came at the US Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston, where he dropped only one set. However, Opelka lost his tournament opener at the BMW Open in Munich to Oscar Otte. The American entered the Madrid Open as the 15th seed but lost to Sebastian Korda in the first round.
Stan Wawrinka vs Reilly Opelka Head-to-Head
In their only previous meeting on tour, Opelka beat Wawrinka 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 in the second round at 2019 Wimbledon. He leads the head-to-head 1-0 against the Swiss.
Stan Wawrinka vs Reilly Opelka Odds
Stan Wawrinka vs Reilly Opelka Prediction
Reilly Opelka will enter as the favorite, given his higher ranking and the fact that Wawrinka is returning from injury and has not played many matches. However, the Swiss' experience cannot be written off.
Opelka doesn't have a very good record on clay, winning only 12 of his 26 matches. However, he won a title on the surface earlier this year in Houston. Opelka's serve has always been his most powerful weapon. The American has only had two matches this season where he served less than five aces.
Wawrinka, meanwhile, has had a lot of success on clay in the past, including winning at Roland Garros. His single-handed backhand is a formidable weapon, which he can use to move opponents around the court before finishing them off.
Wawrinka is not the player he once used to be, but he should be able to put up a tough fight against Opelka. However, expect the American to prevail in three sets to progress to the next round.
Pick: Opelka to win in three sets.