After quarantine, Sebastian Korda wins in Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia — Sebastian Korda has spent his first week of a long-awaited trip to Australia away from the summer sun he imagined...


MELBOURNE, Australia — Sebastian Korda has spent his first week of a long-awaited trip to Australia away from the summer sun he imagined: After testing positive for coronavirus upon arriving in the country, Korda was put in quarantine in a hotel room in Adelaide, hitting a ball against the headboard of his bed.

Although an unfortunate carom from the ceiling left Korda doubled over in pain, the week-long confinement would not contain his growing talent: In his first match of the year, Korda defeated 12th seed Cameron Norrie of Grande -Britain, 6-3, 6-0, 6-4, in a first round match at the Australian Open.

“It wasn’t easy,” Korda said after her victory. “I haven’t had much preparation, I haven’t had any games under my belt.”

It was the first main draw game here for 21-year-old Korda, who won the Australian Open men’s title four years ago. Korda skipped the Open last year, opting to play a small tournament in France, which he won to break into the top 100 for the first time.

Although he has remained on the sidelines since his junior triumph, Korda feels a close connection to Australia: his father, Petr, won his only Grand Slam title here in 1998, and his two sisters won the tournament Australian Open women’s golf course, with Jessica winning. in 2012 and nelly, currently the highest ranked player in the LPGA, winner in 2019.

“A lot of success here in Australia,” said Sebastian Korda. “I’m always super happy to be here. The fans are amazing, the tournament is amazing and yes, I’m really comfortable here. They always make me feel at home here.

Norrie grew up closer to Melbourne, New Zealand, but found no solace against Korda and her dominating serve. Korda won 77% of the points on his first serve and saved all three break points he faced in the match.

Norrie, who jumped into the top 20 with a surprise title at the Indian Wells Masters event last October, said Monday’s loss was “maybe my worst game in the last eight months”, but called Korda as a “great player” and said the match “could even have been tough if I was still playing really well.

“He can show up – very skilled around the net,” added Norrie. “He served well in the big spots today and was too good for me.”

Korda, ranked 43rd, is part of a tight field that leads American men’s tennis as it hunts the best in the sport. Although no Americans are ranked in the ATP top 20, there are five Americans ahead of Korda, led by No. 22 Taylor Fritz.

“I think we all push each other,” Korda said. “There’s always an American pushing, going further in tournaments, so it’s inspiring for all of us – it’s like a little competition between us.”

Those ahead of the pack see Korda winning quickly.

“So clean,” said 41st-ranked Tommy Paul, who won in straight sets Monday against Mikhail Kukushkin, of Korda. “Fun to watch.”

Reilly Opelka, No. 29, an outspoken cheerleader to fellow American players, said the 6-foot-5 Korda “definitely has the body to be awesome.”

“He has the Tsitsipas-Medvedev-Zverev build; it’s kind of the new modern thing,” Opelka said, citing three of the top five players. “He moves well. Excellent backhand.

Opelka said he was particularly impressed with Korda’s biggest results at Grand Slam events, including a run in the fourth round of the 2020 French Open and at Wimbledon last year. “You can fake it for a set and a half if a guy is out,” Opelka said. “You can’t hide it for five sets.”

Although Opelka said he was most “intrigued” by 21-year-old Californian Jenson Brooksby’s unconventional play, he called Korda “super legit” and “young people’s safest call” for lead the American peloton to resurgent heights. .



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Newsrust - US Top News: After quarantine, Sebastian Korda wins in Australia
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