Fixture: (1) Daniil Medvedev vs Reilly Opelka
Date: 15 August 2021
Venue: Aviva Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $2,850,975
Match timing: Not before 4 pm local time, 8 pm GST, 1.30 am IST (Sunday)
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video | India - Voot
Daniil Medvedev vs Reilly Opelka preview
Top seed Daniil Medvedev will battle America's Reilly Opelka on Sunday for the 2021 National Bank Open title in Toronto.
Medvedev began the new season the same way he ended 2020 - by winning everything in sight. The 25-year-old clinched the ATP Cup with Russia, before reaching the Australian Open final and later bagging the title in Marseille.
Medvedev's charge to the top spot was halted by some mediocre results during the clay swing. But he seems to have rediscovered his winning form now, with the tour having returned to hardcourts.
Standing between Medvedev and the Toronto title is another giant server - the 6 ft 11 in Reilly Opelka. The American is enjoying the best run of his career this week, reaching his first ever ATP Masters final.
Opelka, who is 2-0 in career finals, has defeated some quality opposition to reach Sunday's clash. He got past Nick Kyrgios, Grigor Dimitrov, Lloyd Harris and Roberto Bautista Agut before scoring the biggest win of his career in the semi-finals over new World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Daniil Medvedev vs Reilly Opelka head-to-head
The Toronto final will be the fourth encounter between the two players, with Daniil Medvedev currently leading the head-to-head over Reilly Opelka 3-1.
While Medvedev won their most recent encounter at the French Open (in straight sets), their three hardcourt encounters have gone down to the wire. Opelka won 6-4 in the third at St. Petersburg (2020), and Medvedev won in Miami (2019) and Washington (2017) in third-set tiebreakers.
Daniil Medvedev vs Reilly Opelka prediction
This is an interesting matchup, where both players will be looking to capitalize on their strengths. Reilly Opelka has one of the biggest serves on the tour while Daniil Medvedev's return, groundstrokes and counterpunching skills are among the best in the world, so it's tough to say who has the upper hand.
During his semifinal win, Medvedev returned Isner's serve from closer to the baseline than he usually does. That strategy paid off handsomely, with the Russian getting more than 80 percent of returns in play and winning half of the points on Isner's serve.
It's very likely he will use the same approach in Sunday's final against Opelka. But even if that doesn't work, the World No. 2 has a wide repertoire of other strategies in his arsenal as well.
Medvedev also has far more experience in the latter rounds of big events, which is another factor that will likely work to his advantage.
Opelka will need to be patient and get as many returns back in play as possible, while at the same time keeping the points short on his own serve. That might be a difficult balance to maintain for the 23-year-old.
All things considered, Medvedev goes into this final as the favorite.
Also ReadArticle Continues below
Prediction: Daniil Medvedev to win in straight sets.