Consistent Korda Reaches First Career Final

Consistent Korda Reaches First Career Final

By STEVE DORSEY

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Sebastian Korda is on a roll. He’s also on the doorstep of claiming his first ATP Tour title.

The 20-year-old American’s 6-3, 7-5 win against world No. 74 Cameron Norrie of Great Britain on Tuesday night at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com is his ninth consecutive win and earned him a berth in Wednesday’s championship match, which will be the first final of his young career.

Korda has won 17 of his last 19 matches, including the Eckental Challenger title last year. His four wins here this week in the season’s opening tournament include victories against No. 5 seed Tommy Paul and top-ranked American John Isner, who was the No. 2 seed here.

Korda arrived in Delray Beach ranked No. 119 in the world, and he’s projected to move into the top 100 – likely No. 87 — with a victory in tomorrow’s final against world No. 35 Hubert Hurkacz, the No. 4 seed here who ousted American Christian Harrison in the earlier semifinal Tuesday at the Delray Beach Tennis Center.

“To be in my first ATP Tour final, it’s exciting,” Korda said. “I’m having a lot of fun. Pretty much my whole family’s here and to have my dad (former ATP Tour No. 2 Petr Korda) in the stands all week is super cool. If somebody had told me I’d be in my first ATP final here, I’d be thrilled, so that’s why I’ve got a big smile on my face.”

Korda played nearly flawless tennis against the left-handed Norrie, who beat 3 seed No. Adrian Mannarino and No. 8 seed Frances Tiafoe en route to the semifinals. The 6-foot-5 Floridian took charge of the match when he broke Norrie’s serve to go up 5-3 in the first set, causing Norrie to slam his racquet to the court in disgust. Korda, who was composed the entire match, then held his serve to close out the first set.

“I could sense that he was getting a little frustrated,” Korda said. “I don’t think he played exactly how he wanted to play, but I stayed pretty solid the whole match and I stayed with my game plan.”

The second set turned in Korda’s favor when he again broke Norrie to take a 3-2 lead, then holding his serve to go up 4-2. Norrie, however, fought back to tie the set at 5-all, but he committed two double faults in the next game and Korda held his serve to close out the set and match.

“I think throughout my whole life, I’ve been super good with focusing, especially in key moments,” Korda said of not getting rattled after Norrie tied the second set in the 10th game. “I always like to be in those tough situations.”

Petr Korda also played this tournament during pro career, but never reached the quarterfinals in either of his two appearances. Sebastian was asked if he’s going to rib his dad about the fact he’s reached the final in his first tournament in Delray Beach.

“No, because he’s then just going to counter that and say, ‘I’ve got a Grand Slam,” Sebastian joked. “My dad is not anything like that. He’s all for me. As long as I’m happy, he’s happy.”

Suffice it to say that the entire Korda family will be extremely happy if Sebastian hoists the championship trophy Wednesday afternoon.

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