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Taylor Fritz takes the court Saturday, July 27, 2019, against Cam Norrie in Atlanta.
Taylor Fritz takes the court Saturday, July 27, 2019, against Cam Norrie in Atlanta.|

Atlanta Open Saturday semis: Abrams picks de Minaur vs. Opelka, Fritz vs. Norrie

Matches start at 3 pm EDT.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

BB&T Atlanta Open

Atlanta, GA

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Men’s Semifinals

Alex de Minaur over Reilly Opelka

Reilly Opelka finally won a set that didn’t end in a tiebreaker in his 7-6, 7-5 quarterfinal victory over Brit Dan Evans. After playing three tiebreakers against top-seeded John Isner, Opelka was able to piece together four service returns in one game and broke Evans at the end of the second set. Unfortunately for him, I don’t think that’s going to happen against Aussie Alex (“the Demon”) de Minaur. De Minaur has been playing at a high level this week, and he seems to be playing with the joy and abandon that he showed back in January when he won the Sydney International by dispatching Dusan Lajovic, Opelka, Jordan Thompson, Gilles Simon and Andreas Seppi in succession. His 6-4, 7-6 triumph over Opelka on the hard courts there showed that the Demon can break the seven footer’s serve, and handle his own, against the largest player on Tour. Because de Minaur has a complete all-court game, I think he’ll beat his friend, and then celebrate with a nice dinner. Who will he eat with? Probably Opelka!

Taylor Fritz over Cameron Norrie

Taylor Fritz continues to impress me day after day. In a very workman-like match, the Yank straight-setted impressive Serbian teenager Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1, 7-6. Fritz served well, moved well, hit impressive forehands, and raised his game just when needed to move into today’s semis. Britain’s Cam Norrie had a pretty routine time taking out Aussie Alexei Popyrin 5 and 4. Norrie didn’t do much exceptionally well, but did everything he had to, and will now take his licking from Fritz, who is playing as if this title is his destiny. They’ve split the two matches that they’ve played against each other, both taking place earlier this year. Fritz’s straight-three-set win in this year’s Australian Open established his superiority over Norrie, after Norrie took a 7-6, 6-3 decision in New Zealand the week before. But Fritz is better today than he was seven months ago, and I think the American should win this with relative ease.