Korda upsets Hurkacz and reaches first Grand Slam quarterfinals
Giants Sebastian Korda stormed into his first Grand Slam quarter-final with a five-set upset of 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz on Sunday to keep alive his hopes of matching the exploits of father Petr at the Australian Open.
The 29th seeded American overcame a crucial 10-point tiebreak rollercoaster at Rod Laver Arena to win 3-6 6-3 6-2 1-6 7-6 (10/7 ).
He is playing Russia’s Karen Khachanov for a semi-final spot behind Japan’s 18th seed Yoshihito Nishioka, 6-0 6-0 7-6 (7/4).
Korda, whose father Petr won the title in 1998, had put on one of the performances of his career to upset Australian Open finalist Daniil Medvedev twice in the third round.
And he was digging deep after a slow start to catch another big name.
“Great, I couldn’t have done it without (the crowd), they pushed me,” he said.
“I didn’t have much energy for fourth and fifth place but they caught me.
“I was just trying to stay as calm as possible,” he added. “Before it was a late night game (against Medvedev) but today it was during the day and the conditions were different. But I’m very happy, the result is good.”
The defeat was a bitter pill for Hurkacz, who was aiming to become the first Pole ever to reach the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park.
The Pole immediately took charge on a hot day to break and run through the opening set.
But Korda got up and clawed his way back into the contest, improving his first serve percentage while cutting down on unforced errors.
He worked in a break to clear 3-2 and held on to win the second set.
With Hurkacz in the backcourt, the American kept up the pressure and took a 4-0 lead in the third set, but lost focus as the fourth set progressed.
The Poles won five consecutive games to take the set in a decider where they went head to head until the dramatic tiebreak.