Korda Raises to Oust Hurkacz, Reaches Maiden Grand Slam QF in Melbourne

Korda Raises to Oust Hurkacz, Reaches Maiden Grand Slam QF in Melbourne
Sebastian Korda playing Daniil Medvedev at Melbourne Park in Australia. January 20, 2023. Photo Courtesy: Tennis Australia/Australian Open.

Sebastian Korda broke new ground on Saturday by overcoming 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz in a five-setter to make it through his maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at Melbourne Park.

In his second Australian Open main draw, American Sebastian Korda went the distance to reach a major’s quarterfinal for the first time in his career.

The 22-year-old got tested by Pole Hubert Hurkacz at Rod Laver but prevailed, securing a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6[10-7] triumph over the World No. 11 after three hours and 28 minutes on a sunny Australian Saturday afternoon.

After the dramatic battle between the young stars, Korda commented: “It’s awesome. [It] was brutal, had a big lead, and then lost it. Somehow, [I] managed to pull through. It wasn’t easy, but I’m very happy with the way it ended.”

Next, the 29th-seeded player will face World No. 20 Karen Khachanov, who put out 31st seed Yoshihito Nishioka 6-0, 6-0, 7-6(4) in nearly two hours at John Cain Arena.

The World No. 31 leads Khachanov in their series 2-1, having met the Moscow native for the last time in Antwerp, Belgium, producing a hard-earned 7-5, 7-6(9) victory over his opponent in October.

Korda vs. Hurkacz as It Happened

The enthralling five sets encounter brought the best tennis from both competitors, fighting for over three hours under the Australian sun.

The Florida born-player made a slow start to the opener against the Pole, struggling to find his rhythm.

Wise on serve, Hurkacz converted his first breakpoint in the second game and held to take a 3-0 lead. The early advantage was enough for the 25-year-old to steal a 6-3 win in 34 minutes.

However, a tight second set would see Korda rising, earning a break in the sixth game to stay ahead 4-2, marching to a 6-3 victory to even the encounter at one set apiece.

Back from a set down, he rallied to produce a double break in the third, bringing his A-game to the court to close out 6-2, only one set away from notching his place in the last eight.

Korda committed just nine unforced errors to his adversary’s 20. Moreover, he won 88 percent of his first serve points to Hurkacz’s 57 percent.

But the man mentored by Craig Boynton would not go down without putting up a fight, and so he did.

A semifinalist in Wimbledon, the Polish player regrouped to take by storm the fourth, wrapping up the set 6-1 in just 38 minutes to force a final fifth set.

Tension rose as a spot in the quarterfinals was at stake; regardless, Korda stayed calm under pressure even when the 5-time ATP titlist clinched two breakpoints at 5-5.

Neither player found enough breathing room to emerge victorious before playing a deciding tiebreak.

The son of Petr Korda stood forward, firing all his weapons to open a 7-3 advantage, which would vanish at the hands of the Wroclaw native at 7-7.

Saving the best for last, the American went the distance, winning three consecutive points, notching a 10-7 triumph with a backhand winner.

I wasn’t feeling too much energy towards the fourth and the fifth, but you guys really picked me up, and without you guys, I don’t think it would have been possible today, so thank you!” the American said in his on-court interview addressing the crowd.

Overall, both players won 75 percent of the first serve points on it, while with the second, the margins were small, leaning on the American side by 53 to 51 percent, respectively.

In addition, the 2023 Adelaide International 1 finalist - lost to top seed Novak Djokovic in three sets, fired 42 winners, and recorded 52 unforced errors, while Hurkacz struck more winners, 49, but committed more unforced errors, 60 overall.

Further assessing the high-level matchup, he outlined: “I’m really good at moving forward, learning from my mistakes, then using them in matches like this.

I’ve had a tough match with Rafa (Nadal), serving for it a couple of times. Match point with Djokovic. That really helped me, especially in the last match with Medvedev, closing out that tiebreaker. Then today as well.

En route to the last eight on Australian soil, Korda stunned runner-up Daniil Medvedev in the third round on Friday with a straight-set victory.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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