Top-seeded Cameron Norrie and second-seed Reilly Opelka will create history when they meet in the final of the Delray Beach Open for, in the 30 years of the tournaments existence, the top two seeds have never faced each other to decide the year’s title.
He’s the one seed for a reason. He won a lot of matches last year. He’s definitely fresher than I am, I had a long week last week and a long night tonight. It’s the last one, I’ll leave it all on the line Reilly Opelka
Norrie beat fourth-seeded Tommy Paul 6-3 6-3 in one semi-final Saturday while Opelka edged John Millman 7-6(8) 6-7(3) 7-6(4) in exactly three hours in the second.
It will be the second time at Delray for the big hitting 6’11” Opelka, who won the event in 2020, had seen his winning streak as regards tie-break brought to an end earlier in the week when he beat Jack Sock 6-7(6) 7-6(4) 6-1. Last week’s Dallas champion then won his second match against Adrian Mannarino 7-6(2) 3-6 6-1 and on Saturday required three to make the title round, leaving his tie-break record this year standing at 9-2.
In contrast Norrie has had a relatively stress-less run to the final, beating Tommy Paul the fourth seed, 6-3 6-3 as he starts to find the sort of form which pushed him up the rankings to world 13.
After starting 2022 with four straight defeats, Norrie sparked his season to life with a quarter-final run in Rotterdam last week and will now aim to win his third Tour title.
The two finalists have split their only two previous tour-level meetings, with Norrie taking the most recent at the Rolex Paris Masters last November.
“It would have been nice to have been out of there in two. I would have been home, probably in bed by now,” Opelka said after his match.
“He hit one unbelievable forehand on one of those match points, so not much I can do. There’s one backhand that I’m kicking myself over that I missed in the net, that I kind of had the whole court. It’s unfortunate that that happened, but I was able to get a win.”
Looking ahead to the final against Norrie, Opelka said: “He’s the one seed for a reason. He won a lot of matches last year. He’s definitely fresher than I am, I had a long week last week and a long night tonight. It’s the last one, I’ll leave it all on the line.”