Rising American star Sebastian Korda, 20, got demolished by Rafael Nadal but still said it was the "best moment of my life." Korda, who said before the match Nadal was his biggest idol as he even has a cat named Rafa after the Spanish tennis superstar, was beaten by the Spaniard 6-1 6-1 6-2.
"It was definitely the best moment of my life. It was super awesome," Korda said. "After the match I asked him for a signed shirt when we were tapping rackets. I don't know if anyone's ever asked him for an autograph after a match, but that was definitely the coolest moment of my life and one I'll never forget."
Korda made a surprising start to the third set
Nadal lost the opening two games of the third set but then claimed three consecutive breaks and won six games in a row to earn a straight-set win. Meanwhile, No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem avoided a huge upset as he edged out French Hugo Gaston 6-4 6-4 5-7 3-6 6-3.
"I think it was an amazing match by both of us," Thiem said, per the ATP website. "Haven't seen for a very long time a player with such a big touch in his hands. His drop shots are just from another planet, I was sprinting like 400 times to the net.
All the credit to him. If he continues like this, he's going to be a huge, huge player and make a lot of joy in this stadium in the future." "I couldn't find the right answer to [the drop shots],” Thiem said.
“In the fifth set I found some new energy. I think I was playing very good again, but it was a great fight until the end and I'm very lucky I made it through today." Thiem and Gaston were tied at three games apiece in the fifth set before Thiem won three games in a row to win the match.
2020 US Open champion Thiem needed just over three and a half hours to beat Gaston and he plays next No. 12 seed Diego Schwartzman. "It's all about recovery now. I had tough last weeks and today was 3.5 hours with lots of sprints and running.
So try to use the time well, day off, recover the body as good as I can," Thiem said, per Ravi Ubha. "I'm not running on a full tank anymore. That's for sure. So I try to recover as good as I can. If I'm able to do that, it's going to be an exciting match. If not, if somehow I don't make it until Tuesday, I think he's going to be the heavy favorite.