It will be a big serving affair on Friday when Milos Raonic and Reilly Opelka take to the court for their third round clash. Raonic, a former finalist, has always performed well at Wimbledon as you’d expect with the weapons at his disposal.
The new tie-break at 12-12 rules looked like they wear nearing their first run as Opelka and Stanislas Wawrinka were deep in the fifth set of their second round match. However, Opelka finally broke to complete a shock comeback win 7-5 3-6 4-6 6-4 8-6. Opelka is much in the vein of fellow American John Isner, standing tall at 6ft11 and boasting a monster serve to boot. It was on full display in the win as he hit 23 aces on his way to victory. “He got really comfortable and started hitting some really good returns,” said Opelka on the match. “I had to adjust a lot. My mind was always thinking, especially after I lost the third set. I knew I had to make some adjustments quick to start, because he was in every return game… Today we went through a match where he had breakpoints, like, almost every game.
Raonic bested Robin Haase in straight sets to move on, barely getting touched on first serve – in large part down to the 32 aces he hit against the Dutchman. Raonic defends quarter final points here but moved closer to protecting them with this win. He would have fancied his chances to have won Stuttgart prior to his injury withdrawal but would have been disappointed to have lost to Feliciano Lopez in his other grass warmup. The Canadian is back in the top 20 and looking closer to his best but another injury layoff between Miami and the grass swing has hindered his progress.
A former Wimbledon boys champion, Opelka does have the experience of playing big matches here. However, Raonic’s class is likely to tell with the Canadian eyeing a great chance to find himself back in the Wimbledon semi finals once more. He would play Kevin Anderson in round four and would likely consider himself favourite for any quarter finalist he may face.
Prediction – Milos Raonic in four sets