WATCH ON DEMAND: Reilly Opelka finishes 3-1, wins UTR Pro Match Series

WATCH ON DEMAND: Reilly Opelka finishes 3-1, wins UTR Pro Match Series

Miomir Kecmanovic (2-2) finished runner-up, while Hubert Hurkacz (3-1) won a third-place match over Tommy Paul (0-4).

The 2020 (RE)Open tour continued on Saturday, with Day 2 of the UTR Pro Match Series in West Palm Beach, Fla. For a primer on the event—the first broadcast in the United States since the COVID-19 shutdown to feature top-ranked, world-class athletes—click here. To watch Day 1's matches on demand, click here.

Day 2, Match 4: Reilly Opelka d. Miomir Kecmanovic, 4-3, 2-4, 4-2

Saturday's first three matches went three sets, and lo and behold, so did the final. It made sense, considering that three of the four competitors finished the round-robin stage with identical records—not much separated Opelka, Kecmanovic and Hurkacz in this event, though only two of them could play for the title.

Leading 2-1 in the third, Kecmanovic had a slight opening at 15-30 on Opelka's serve. Ace. Ace. Ace.

The hold led to an opening for Opelka, who reached 0-30 after a pair of Kecmanovic errors. He would reach 0-40 with a deep-forehand/short-forehand combination—the resulting winner left Kecmanovic standing still, as if another ace was whizzing by.

Of all shots, it was a down-the-line backhand that gave Opelka the decisive break. He earned the opportunity to hit the shot with another deep forehand—and with the subsequent hold (which featured another backhand winner), he certainly earned this UTR Pro Match Series title.




"It was a long day; I've only been practicing an hour, hour-and-a-half max," said Opelka. "I think my Quarantine 15 was holding me down out there. "I'm sore—it's a good feeling. I'm not complaining about being tired."


Day 2, Match 3: Hubert Hurkacz d. Tommy Paul, 4-1, 0-4, 4-1

In what might be the most well-deserved sports victory in months, Hurkacz, who finished 2-1 in round-robin play, took the third-place match over Paul, who entered this contest 0-3.

Paul lost all four of his sets on Saturday by 4-1 scores.


Day 2, Match 2: Miomir Kecmanovic d. Tommy Paul, 3-4, 4-1, 4-1

With Opelka and Hurkacz both holding 2-1 round-robin records, Kecmanovic needed to prevail—and prevail in a somewhat efficient manner, given the games-won-and-lost tiebreaker—to reach the final. The Serbian, who entered Saturday 1-1, dropped a close first set to Paul, but it wasn't very close afterwards, as the American won just two more games and fell to 0-3 in the competition.

"It's just the four us, but it's still motivating to beat one another," said Kecmanovic, who won the match on a Paul double fault.


Had Kecmanovic lost, the third-place match and championship match would have both been rematches from today.

Day 2, Match 1: Hubert Hurkacz d. Reilly Opelka, 4-2, 1-4, 4-2

Some accuse professional tennis players of hitting tweeners to play to the crowd. Well, Hurkacz dispelled that theory with a sublime winner struck between his legs and running toward the back wall, with not a fan in sight.

As @whitelinefervor said on Twitter, it was the "shot of the pandemic, at the very least." Judge for yourself:


"That was great," Hurkacz said after the match. "I've been practicing this shot with CB (his coach, Craig Boynton), and I've missed maybe, like, 20 in a row. Yeah, I made one, finally."

But it was arguably not even Hurkacz's most impressive feat from the first set. The 23-year-old broke the projectile-serving Opelka to start the match. In a Fast4 format, and considering the American's relative lack of returning prowess, Hurkacz couldn't have asked for a bigger early advantage.

Indeed, Hurkacz ran out the first set, 4-2. If he defeated Opelka in straight sets, the Pole would have clinched himself a spot in today's final. But it was Opelka, who won both of his matches on Friday, who clinched a title-round spot by winning the second set, 4-1.

Still, Hurkacz clearly had a decent read on Opelka's massive serve, and that showed itself again in the decider, when a late break helped seal a 2-1 round-robin record.

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"Be lucky in some moments, make that return," Hurkacz said about his returning and overall performance against Opelka. "I was guessing a couple of times. His first serve and second serve are unreal, and he can smack that ball with the forehand."

Hurkacz will hope for a second match against Opelka later today, in the final, pending the result of the upcoming match between Miomir Kecmanovic (1-1) and Tommy Paul (0-2).


Day 2 Preview

Here are the standings after the first day of competition:

Today's schedule is as follows:

After the first two matches, the top two finishers in the round-robin competition will meet in the championship match; the third-place and fourth-place finishers will compete in a 3rd place match.