American big man eliminated fan favorite Nick Kyrgios from the Canadian Masters Monday night in Toronto in a tough 3-set 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 victory.
Opelka was broken once in the opener then rode that giant serve to 22 aces in a first-time meeting with the Australian.
“Yeah it’s as expected, he’s got one of the best serves in the world, his skillset is off the charts,” Opelka said. “When you’re not on tour for a while it’s hard to be as sharp. It takes time. I know his best tennis of the season will probably come around at the US open but yeah he’s still a nightmare.”
Kyrgios has lost his last three matches on the tour. He’ll need another wildcard to get into the Cincinnati main draw next week, otherwise he’ll be in qualifying.
Fellow American Tommy Paul also advanced from a set down besting home hope Vasek Pospisil 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3.
While Taylor Fritz fell in straights to James Duckworth, Marin Cilic, Lloyd Harris, Fabio Fognini and Alexander Bublik were all opening day winners.
On Tuesday, Bublik is back for a third date in as many months with Daniil Medvedev. Opelka takes on Grigor Dimitrov.
John Isner faces Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Stefanos Tsitsipas debuts against Ugo Humbert.
Medvedev and Tsitsipas are the last two tournament finalists.
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