WIMBLEDON, England – In a Wimbledon tournament filled with early upsets, Reilly Opelka pulled off another one on Wednesday in the second round.
The 6-foot-11 American with the big serve defeated three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 on No. 2 Court.
"At first I had a lot of success serving and volleying, so I kept with that," Opelka said. "And then as he kind of picked up on what I was doing and started reading my serve a little bit, it was more difficult for me to win points at the net. So I had to play, played a lot of tennis on the baseline today."
Opelka, who grew up in Palm Coast in nearby Flagler County, and whose parents still live there, is making his debut at Wimbledon, and playing in only his fourth Grand Slam tournament. He had never before reached the third round at any major. Wawrinka, who has won each of the other three major titles but has never been past the quarterfinals at the All England Club, also lost in the second round at Wimbledon last year.
On Monday, both No. 6 Alexander Zverev and No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas were eliminated. No. 5 Dominic Thiem, a French Open finalist the past two years, followed them out of the tournament on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old Opelka, who is unseeded, finished the match against Wawrinka with 23 aces, with several serves topping 140 mph. One, at 142 mph, tied with Zverev for the fastest of the tournament so far.
"I had some chance," Wawrinka said. "I start a little bit slow. I was a bit hesitating, not really moving well enough. ... At the end he went for it. He went bigger than me and he deserved to win."
Opelka will next face 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic in the third round on Friday. The 15th-seeded Canadian beat Robin Haase 7-6 (1), 7-5, 7-6 (4).