Rising American star Sebastian Korda, 20, recovered from a set down to beat fellow compatriot Tommy Paul at the Delray Beach Open and make his maiden ATP quarterfinal. Korda, ranked at No. 119 in the world, appeared to be struggling with a leg issue toward the end of the first set but he performed much better after receiving a medical timeout and in the end he won 4-6 6-3 6-2.
"It’s special [to make the quarter-finals],” Korda said after the match, as quoted on the ATP website. “The last time I played here I won the [Boys] 18s Clay Courts, so I have some good memories from here.
It’s a special place and the crowd." Paul got off to an excellent start as he took an early 2-0 first-set lead but then he got broken back in the third game. Korda, who as mentioned appeared to be struggling with a leg injury late in the first set, got broken in the 10th game as Paul won the opener.
In the second set, Korda claimed a break in the opening game and broke Paul one more time in the ninth game to force a decider. The same scenario happened in the third set as Korda earned two breaks and lost no service games to progress into the Delray Beach quarterfinal.
Korda was happy with how he lifted his game
"Just the consistency and constantly applying the pressure was super big for me. I returned really well, especially in the second and third sets,” Korda said. “I started serving a lot better, so those were probably the biggest things for me: always staying aggressive and picking at his serve a lot”.
Next up for Korda will be another American as he is set to face former world No. 8 John Isner. Isner, who is a four-time semifinalist in Delray Beach, handed a 6-4 7-6 (4) loss to Thiago Monteiro in their round-of-16 clash.
Isner won't be taking Korda for granted as he certainly respects the 20-year-old American. "Him and I get along very well. We both really love hockey. He's a Boston Bruins fan, I'm a Carolina Hurricanes fan," Isner said.
"He certainly has an incredible pedigree given his father's tennis career, his two sisters doing amazing things on the LPGA Tour. Good to see him having success. That's a very, very athletic family, no doubt about that."