Fixture: David Goffin vs Reilly Opelka
Date: 31 August 2020
Tournament: US Open 2020
Round: First round (Round of 128)
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $39,024,000
Match timing: Not before 3 pm EDT, 12:30 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Star Sports / Hotstar
David Goffin vs Reilly Opelka preview
World No. 10 David Goffin will be looking to get back to the form he displayed at the start of the season, when he takes on Reilly Opelka in what will truly be a "David versus Goliath" story (pun intended).
After kicking off his year at the ATP Cup with wins over then-World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov, the Belgian had a disappointing European indoor hardcourts swing. The COVID-19 pandemic then put a halt to the tour soon after, thus ensuring Goffin wouldn't have any further opportunity to build on his early success.
The former ATP Finals runner-up, however, did get in some much-required match practice at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown during the lockdown. He looked like his old self for a couple of rounds at the Western & Southern Open last week, before losing to Jan-Lennard Struff in the third round.
The 6'11" Reilly Opelka also had a good last week, as he reached his maiden quarterfinal at a Masters 1000 event. Opelka has always had an intimidating serve, but last week he showed significant improvement in his ground game too.
Opelka, who is ranked No. 39 in the world, registered some big scalps at the Cincinnati Masters; he beat 2019 USO semifinalist Matteo Berrettini and World No. 14 Diego Schwartzman without much of a fuss.
In his quarterfinal match against Stefanos Tsitsipas, Reilly Opelka was forced to withdraw due to an aggravated knee issue. It remains to be seen if the American will be match fit to rally with the slingshot-fast David Goffin in New York.
David Goffin vs Reilly Opelka head-to-head
David Goffin and Reilly Opelka are tied 1-1 in their head-to-head meetings on tour.
Goffin beat the then-20-year-old Opelka in five sets in the first round of the 2017 US Open. However, Opelka would get his revenge at the Swiss Indoors Basel Open last year, where he beat the Belgian in three close sets.
David Goffin vs Reilly Opelka prediction
With the unique ability to hit aces for fun, Reilly Opelka will have an advantage over David Goffin when it comes to the first strike. Moreover, the improved agility and footwork shown by the towering American at the Cincinnati Masters has made many tip him as one of the most dangerous floaters at the US Open.
However, the injury that Opelka suffered at the tail end of his campaign could be a significant factor in New York. While the American has a devastating serve and flat forehand, his height and inability to bend his knees have caused him several knee issues already.
The 23-year-old will be in a race against time to be physically fit for his first-round match on Monday. All things considered, Goffin should be favored to come out marginally ahead in this encounter thanks to his endurance and shot-making off the ground.
Prediction: David Goffin to win in five sets.Published 30 Aug 2020, 13:29 IST