Date: 6 September 2021
Tournament: 2021 US Open
Round: Fourth round (Round of 16)
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $40,560,000
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel & ESPN/ESPN 2 | UK - Amazon Prime Video | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Reilly Opelka vs Lloyd Harris preview
Big servers Reilly Opelka and Lloyd Harris will square off against each other in the fourth round of the 2021 US Open on Monday. Both Opelka and Harris are into the last 16 of a Major for the first time in their career.
Opelka has started showing there is a lot more to his game than just a mammoth serve. The American has been striking a healthy amount of groundstroke winners in his recent matches, to back up the huge number of aces he always lands.
Reilly Opelka struck 52 winners against Nikoloz Basilashvili on Saturday, out of which 21 were aces. While Opelka did commit 41 unforced errors, the fact that he broke the Georgian's serve five times in the match helped his cause.
The 24-year-old has struck a mammoth 85 aces in his three matches at the US Open so far. And he seems primed to take that tally into triple figures when he takes on Lloyd Harris in the fourth round.
Harris on his part accounted for seventh seed Denis Shapovalov in his third-round match on Saturday, winning 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. While the South African was solid in all aspects, he benefitted from the fact that Shapovalov couldn't keep his shots under control on the big points.
The Canadian committed a whopping 40 unforced errors and lost his serve five times to hand Harris one of the biggest wins of his career.
Harris has also defeated Karen Khachanov and Ernesto Escobedo at this year's US Open. The 24-year-old has struck 51 aces in his three matches so far; it seems likely that both he and Opelka will have a difficult time in their return games on Monday.
Reilly Opelka vs Lloyd Harris head-to-head
Reilly Opelka leads Lloyd Harris by a margin of 1-0 in the head-to-head. The two had faced each other at the Toronto Masters last month, with the American winning 4-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(4).
Opelka won by the skin of his teeth on that day, as Harris was arguably the better player. The Protean had a match point that he failed to convert, and he also outserved Opelka for large stretches of the contest.
Harris' return game was stronger that day too; he racked up a massive eight break points against the American. But Opelka was the steadier player in the tiebreakers, and that ultimately proved decisive.
Reilly Opelka vs Lloyd Harris prediction
Reilly Opelka and Lloyd Harris both like to dominate proceedings with their massive serves. There won't be too many breaks of serve in this match, which will likely feature at least a couple of tiebreakers.
With the margins being so fine, the player who hits his spots more consistently will come out on top. Both players are quite tall (Opelka is 6'11" and Harris 6'4"), and will find it relatively easier to reach each other's serve. Whether they can do anything with the ball after getting their racket on it, however, remains to be seen.
Most fans expect this match to be a toss-up, with even luck possibly playing a role in the outcome. That said, Harris has shown incredible consistency from the baseline in recent weeks, so he might have a slight edge.
Prediction: Lloyd Harris to win in five sets.