Four Americans Vie for Semifinals

Four Americans Vie for Semifinals

High Quality Quarterfinal Clashes Set For Friday

For the third time in four years, four Americans are through to the Delray Beach Open by quarterfinals. All four USA players are spread out in Friday’s quarterfinal clashes, providing a chance for the first all-American final four in tournament history. Frances Tiafoe gets the singles action underway on stadium court when he plays No. 6 seed Ugo Humbert. Brandon Nakashima’s teenage dream continues the day’s play with the 18-year-old sensation taking on Yoshihito Nishioka in the third match on stadium. Fourth seed and local West Palm Beach resident Reilly Opelka will then tackle giant killer Soonwoo Kwon in the opening night session match for a place in the semifinals. The nightcap will feature Steve Johnson taking on No. 2 seed Milos Raonic.

Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs [6] Ugo Humbert (FRA)

In the day’s opening quarterfinal heavy hitting Frances Tiafoe will tackle crafty left hander Ugo Humbert. Tiafoe, 22, was the Delray Beach Open’s first ever wildcard winner in 2018. In a battle for a spot in the semifinals, Tiafoe will face 21-year-old Frenchman Ugo Humbert. Humbert is making his debut here in Delray off the back of a very strong start to 2020, winning the title in Auckland earlier in the year. This match will pit court craft against power, with Tiafoe looking to hit through his opponent while Humbert will look to open the court up with lots of angles to get Tiafoe on the move. The pair last met at the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan late last year where Tiafoe was victorious.

[WC] Brandon Nakashima (USA) vs Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN)

Friday’s second quarterfinal will feature Delray Beach Open by surprise packet Brandon Nakashima and 24-year-old Japanese rising star Yoshihito Nishioka. Nakashima, 18, has collected two upset wins over Jiri Vesely and Cameron Norrie in the first two rounds. Having done so, he became the fourth youngest player to reach the quarterfinals at Delray Beach, and the youngest since Kei Nishikori in 2008. Wildcard entrant Nakashima only turned pro in December of last year and is certainly making the most of his debut on the ATP Tour. On Friday, he’ll face a third straight lefthander as he takes on Yoshihito Nishioka, who has continued his good run of form in 2020 here in Delray. Nishioka, a quarterfinalist here in 2015, registered four top 50 wins down in Australia across the ATP Cup and Australian Open in January and appears primed to make a surge up the rankings in 2020. This match will be the first time these two future stars have met on the ATP Tour.

Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) vs [4] Reilly Opelka (USA)

Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea will take on American Reilly Opelka in Friday’s third semifinal. Kwon will be looking to get over the quarterfinal hurdle here in Delray Beach after losing at this stage the last two weeks in New York and Pune. Opelka will be happy with the form he’s shown in Delray after a stuttering start to 2020, most notably dropping a two set to love lead over Fabio Fognini at the Australian Open. In his first match here, Opelka won one of the matches of the tournament over past Delray Beach Open by champion Ernests Gulbis. Opelka’s serve has looked ominous so far this week, having not dropped serve and sending down 37 aces across his two matches. The 22-year-old American will need to do more than just serve big against Kwon, who upset another big server, Milos Raonic, last week in New York. Friday’s encounter will be the pair’s first meeting on tour and will showcase two very opposing styles of play.

Steve Johnson (USA) vs [2] Milos Raonic (CAN)

In Friday’s final quarterfinal American veteran Steve Johnson will lock horns with Delray Beach Open by No. 2 seed Milos Raonic. Johnson has won two very tight straight sets matches to appear in his sixth quarterfinal and fourth in a row at Delray Beach. There must be something in the Delray water for Johnson as he has played more matches (21) here than any other player in the draw this week.  Raonic may not have as much experience as Johnson on this court but he does have success here, holding a 7-1 record and a final appearance in 2017. Raonic has looked solid in his first two wins but has yet to reach the same level he found at the Australian Open earlier this year where he beat world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals. Johnson and Raonic have met on four occasions on the ATP tour with the Canadian holding a 3-1 edge in the pair’s head-to-head. However, the last time these two tour veterans met was at this very tournament two years ago in 2018 where Johnson easily accounted for Raonic 6-2, 6-4. Based on the form these two have shown this week, fans can expect a much tighter contest than what was served up in 2018.