Thursday, February 2, 2023

Sebastian Korda reaches his first Grand Slam quarterfinal

MELBOURNE, Australia ( Associated Press) — Sebastian Korda suffered a minor setback Sunday at the Australian Open. Overcome an early disadvantage against an opponent with a better ranking. A flimsy service at times. The ups and downs of the fifth set tiebreaker, marked by errors by both players.

At the end of it all, the 22-year-old American took the last three points 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (10-7) to 10th-seeded Pole Hubert Hurkaj.

“Those are the hardest points to win, those three,” said Peter, who won the 1998 championship in Australia after beating Chile’s Marcelo Rios in the final. “They’re cruel.”

Young Korda is taken to touch signs displaying titles won by his father and mentor Andre Agassi in the hallways leading to the Rod Laver Arena track.

“Whenever I walk by, I always hit them with my fists,” Korda said. “That way I feel they are with me. I always feel secure that they are supporting me in some way or the other. Both are special to me. They have helped me a lot.”

Korda’s mother was also a professional tennis player, and her two older sisters compete in the professional golf circuit. They closely follow their “seebies” on television from the United States during the Australian Open, despite the 16-hour time difference between the East Coast and Melbourne.

Korda said of his parents, “I just got off the phone with them.” “They were going to try to sleep.”

Korda had defeated Daniil Medvedev, the 2021 US Open champion and finalist in each of the previous editions, at Melbourne Park.

Korda (seeded 29th) will take on Karen Khachanov (seeded 18th) of Russia for a place in the semi-finals. The other quarterfinal meeting at the top of the draw will see surprise Czech Jiri Lehka up against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (seeded 3), who beat Italian Jannik Sinner (15th) 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-. 6, 6-3 in 4 hours.

Tsitsipas, who beat Sinner in Australia a year earlier, said, “I feel like I’ve spent a century on this track. It felt like forever.” “What a night. It was fantastic.”

Korda is one of four American men to reach the Round of 16, joining Ben Shelton, JJ Wolfe and Tommy Paul – who will play on Monday – the most American players in Australia since the total of four made it to the tournament. Since 2004.

“It’s fantastic,” Korda said. “A tremendous litter is on the way. We’re going to be able to do special things in the years to come.

Last year’s US Open semi-finalist Khachanov defeated Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-0, 6-0, 7-6. Lehka arrived in Australia with a career 0–4 record in Grand Slam events, but reached the quarterfinals with a 4–6, 6–3 win over Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime (6th seed). 7-6(2), 7-6(3).

“We’re going to see this more often in the future,” Auger-Aliassime said.

While Novak Djokovic, who faces local Alex Di Minaur on Monday, is still the only Grand Slam champion – the Serb, 21, owns nine at Melbourne Park – Tsitsipas is just the second with experience of reaching a final. The Greek lost to Djokovic at Roland Garros in 2021 and has played in the semifinals in Australia three times.

Tsitsipas, 24, went over-to-under against Sinner. He clearly dominated the first set, slowed down in the next two and finally picked up the pace after a service break that put him ahead 4–2 in the fifth.

“I didn’t lose my temper, like Mr. Rod Laver used to do in his playing days,” Tsitsipas said, pointing to the Australian tennis legend, who was also present.

Nation World News Desk
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