The quarterfinal matches are set at the ATP Atlanta Open, with four Americans in action in front of a home crowd. Georgia-born John Isner highlights the slate, looking to win his sixth title at his most successful tournament. The match to watch is the all-American showdown between the second- and third-highest ranked Americans, Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka. Fans will see these top players who will likely be around for years to come. Another American Brandon Nakashima is one of the top teenage players in the world and he will face Australian Jordan Thompson. Finally, Cameron Norrie, who has been playing as good tennis as almost anybody, will face the young Finnish talent Emil Ruusuvuori. We offer our thoughts on all four exciting matches.
Brandon Nakashima vs Jordan Thompson
Head-to-head: 1-0 Nakashima
A rematch of another quarterfinal from earlier this year in Los Cabos pits the exciting young American again the veteran Aussie. Nakashima is on a good hard court run, making his first ATP final in Los Cabos. Thompson had a great grass season, but his early season hard court results were up and down. Nakashima scored an impressive win over top-seed Milos Raonic, and while Thompson presents a completely different challenge, the American will be able to show his talent in all areas of his game and advance to the semifinal.
Prediction: Nakashima in 2
Cameron Norrie vs Emil Ruusuvuori
Head-to-head: 1-0 Norrie
Norrie played one of the most impressive matches of the tournament last round, crushing Nick Kyrgio. He had no problem at all with the Aussie’s massive serve. Ruusuvuori is continuing to gain valuable later-round experience after Benoit Paire retired in the third set of a close match. Norrie has really grown as a player this year, and his strong groundstrokes work well on hard courts, as shown by his title in Los Cabos. Ruusuvuori is an exciting young talent, but his game is not yet there to compete against top players–and of late, Norrie has looked every bit like one of them. Norrie won their only meeting in straight sets and should take care of business again.
Prediction: Norrie in 2
John Isner vs Christopher O’Connell
Head-to-head: first meeting
O’Connell is coming off a shock upset over the tournament’s #2 seed Jannik Sinner in straight sets. He faces an arguably tougher test in Isner, who loves these Atlanta courts, boasting five titles here along with three additional finals. Isner’s tennis is also well-suited for the scorching Atlanta heat because his big serves require fewer long, physical points. O’Connell will have a challenge following a big upset win, and it will be too much to find that near flawless level in consecutive matches, especially against a player who has been dominant at this tournament.
Prediction: Isner in 2
Taylor Fritz vs Reilly Opelka
Head-to-head: 6-1 Fritz
Taylor Fritz has dominated the head to head, but this is the first meeting between the American pair where Opelka is ranked higher. Opelka has come a long way the last couple seasons, especially with an impressive return game for a player of his height. Fritz has maintained enough results to keep a high ranking but has struggled to consistently win lots of matches and tournaments to get to the next level. Opelka is looking more and more like a top challenge for any player, and Fritz will struggle to deal with his serve. This match will be close, but Opelka will be able to squeak out a big break that ends up deciding the match.
Prediction: Opelka in 3
Main Photo from Getty.