Sebastian Korda has been ranked inside the top-50 for nine months now, winning his first ATP title in Parma last year. The youngster cracked the top-100 at the beginning of 2021, gaining over 400 places on the ATP ranking list in the previous two years and standing as one of the leaders of the new generation.
A son of a former world no. 2 and a Major winner, Petr, Sebastian made a name for himself at the 2020 Roland Garros. World no. 213 passed three qualifying rounds to enter the main draw, his first at Majors. The American topped Andreas Seppi, John Isner and Pedro Martinez to advance into the last 16, where he met his idol, Rafael Nadal.
Korda had a chance to talk with Nadal for ten minutes, and he learned a lot from the experience of facing the king of clay on the court. Korda described Nadal as very supportive, as the Spaniard praised his game and gave him a signed shirt.
Rafa beat Sebastian 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 in an hour and 55 minutes, controlling the pace on a windy day to advance into the last eight. Nadal saved five out of six break chances and produced eight breaks from 11 opportunities, never losing focus despite some weak moments in tough conditions.
Sebastian Korda would love to play against his idol Rafael Nadal again.
Rafa saved two break points in the first game and delivered breaks in games two and four to open a 5-0 gap after 28 minutes. The American held at love in game six with a service winner to add his name on the scoreboard before the Spaniard closed the set a few minutes later.
Rafa produced three comfortable holds in set number two and stole Sebastian's serve thrice for 6-1 and another step towards the finish line. The youngster grabbed a break at the beginning of the third set with a backhand winner and opened a 2-0 gap, feeling the ball in those moments and hoping to keep that pace.
Shifting into a higher gear, Rafa rattled off the next six games to race over the top, sealing the deal with a return winner at 5-2 to remain on the title course. "I watch a lot of tennis. Pretty much every single day, I'm watching something on TV.
There is always a lot of inspiration, especially from a guy like Rafael Nadal. He has always been an inspiration for me with how he carries himself on the court and how professional and humble he is. Hopefully, he can keep playing tennis. I would love to get another opportunity to be able to play him," Sebastian Korda said.