Korda continues progress with maiden ATP final spot at Delray

French Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - October 4, 2020. Sebastian Korda of the U.S. in action during his fourth round match against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

January 13, 2021

(Reuters) – American Sebastian Korda, who hit the headlines by reaching the fourth round of the French Open in October, has booked a spot in his first ATP Tour final after beating Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the Delray Beach Open semi-finals.

Korda, the son of former world No.2 and 1998 Australian Open champion Petr, made his Grand Slam debut at the U.S. Open as a wildcard last year.

The 20-year-old was ranked 213th before Roland Garros but has climbed to 119th and is on track to break the top 100 soon thanks to his exploits at the ATP 250 event in Florida, where he will face fourth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the final.

“For me the biggest thing was kind of getting my consistency up,” said Korda, whose sisters Nelly and Jessica play on the LPGA Tour, the elite women’s golf circuit.

“Before I’d kind of missed the balls that I don’t miss now. So it’s super big for me to be playing these matches and kind of just getting a feel for my body, growing into my body and kind of building myself out both tennis wise and physically.”

His run in Paris was ended by his idol Rafa Nadal and despite losing 6-1 6-1 6-2 to the Spaniard Korda says it was a “big step in the right direction” for his career.

Korda ended the 2020 season with his first ATP Challenger Tour title and spent two weeks in training in Las Vegas under former world number one Andre Agassi.

He said he was having “a lot of fun” with his family at the tournament.

“If someone told me that I’d be in the finals of my first ATP event here at the start of the week, I’d be thrilled,” he added. “I don’t see why not to have a good smile on my face.”

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)