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St. Petersburg Open 2020: Reilly Opelka vs Nino Serdarusic preview, head-to-head & prediction

Reilly Opelka
Reilly Opelka
ANALYST
Modified 13 Oct 2020, 18:57 IST
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Match details

Fixture: Reilly Opelka vs Nino Serdarusic*

Date: 14 October 2020

Tournament: St. Petersburg Open 2020

Round: First round (Round of 32)

Venue: St. Petersburg, Russia

Category: ATP 500

Surface: Indoor hardcourt

Prize money: $ 1,243,790

Match timing: 1 pm Moscow Standard Time, 3.30 pm IST

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Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six

*Note: An earlier version of this article stated that Opelka would be playing Jannik Sinner in the first round. However, Sinner has now withdrawn from the tournament and so he has been replaced by Nino Serdarusic in the draw.

Reilly Opelka vs Nino Serdarusic preview

Hardcourt tennis is back with the 2020 St. Petersburg Open in Russia. The tournament, which has been bumped up to the ATP 500 category this year, will see a host of quality players competing for the title.

Amongst them is USA's Reilly Opelka, who will take on 308th-ranked Nino Serdarusic in the opening round. Opelka was initially slated to face the highly-talented Jannik Sinner, but the Italian pulled out due to a stomach bug.

Reilly Opelka has played just the one match since his opening-round loss at the US Open. The 23-year-old went into the French Open without any claycourt preparation, and lost in the first round to compatriot Jack Sock.

The 6-foot-11 American had an impressive run at the Cincinnati Masters though, where he made the quarterfinals without dropping a set. Unfortunately, injury prevented him from completing his last-eight match against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Reilly Opelka
Reilly Opelka

That said, Opelka has been a vastly improved player in 2020, where he has made changes to several aspects in his game. His serve is of course his standout weapon, but his groundstrokes have become more consistent now too.

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Serdarusic, meanwhile, has overcome a couple of qualifying rounds at St. Petersburg to make the main draw. This is the Croat's first main draw appearance at an ATP tournament in 2020.

It goes without saying that Opelka will be a tough opponent for Serdarusic. The American has arguably the best serve on tour right now alongside John Isner, and is more than a handful for even the top-ranked players. As such, the 23-year-old Nino Serdarusic will have his task cut out for him.

Reilly Opelka vs Nino Serdarusic head-to-head

Reilly Opelka and Nino Serdarusic have never faced each other on tour before, and their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.

Reilly Opelka vs Nino Serdarusic prediction

Reilly Opelka
Reilly Opelka

To survive in a match against Reilly Opelka, you have to serve very well as the American will not give too many chances on his. Serdarusic is decent in that aspect but would have to devise a plan to protect his weaker second delivery lest it gets bludgeoned by the American.

The Croat is also a decent returner and has a good backhand slice. But it remains to be seen if he can use them well to give Opelka trouble.

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The difference in the pedigree of both players is quite stark. Even though Reilly Opelka isn't in the best of form, he has more than sufficient quality to overcome the challenge of Nino Serdarusic.

Prediction: Reilly Opelka to win in straight sets.

Published 11 Oct 2020, 16:19 IST
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