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WATCH: Opelka plays host to his friends in Delray
Published Feb 19, 2020
DELRAY BEACH, Fla.—There are nine Americans still in the singles draw at the Delray Beach Open, and odds are that most of them were at Reilly Opelka's house last night.
As the local, Opelka is hosting some of his friends, all of who might be his opponent this week.
"They’re all at my house," Opelka said. "They’re all staying with me; Tommy Paul, Taylor Fritz , [Stefan] Kozlov was there last night. Frances [Tiafoe] is going to be coming by tonight. So that’s how it is. It's no different any other tournament, it just happens to be that I have a house here and they’re all there. Otherwise we’d all be in the hotel together."
Opelka won his opener over Ernests Gulbis, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (4). If anyone knows how to maneuver their way out of a tiebreaker, it's the big-serving 6'11" Opelka.
"I play a lot of them. I play a lot more than most players," he said. "So having a plan going into ever tiebreaker and being prepared for some things is important... I’m pretty confident with my tennis right now."
Tiafoe, the champion in Delray in 2018, began his bid with a 7-6 (3), 6-2 win over lucky loser Emilio Gomez. After starting his season 0-3, the 22-year-old dipped back into the ATP Challenger tour to find some rhythm.
The world No. 84 reached the quarterfinals in Dallas, but is still putting his A game back together. Like Opelka, he has the home-court advantage this week.
"It's one of my favorite stops of the year," Tiafoe said. "I love south Florida. I live only 10 minutes away. I have an apartment here. It's definitely nice."
With so many Americans in the draw, there will be some compatriot clashes coming up. Opelka plays Mackenzie McDonald on Wednesday, while Thursday will see Jack Sock take on Steve Johnson and Tiafoe battle Tommy Paul.