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Monday, January 30, 2023

Sebastian Korda’s confidence in the process takes him into the quarters of the Australian Open.

FeaturedSports NewsSebastian Korda's confidence in the process takes him into the quarters of the Australian Open.

On either side of the player’s entrance leading to Rod Laver Arena, pillar-shaped screens flash details of past Australian Open champions. Stepping past Daniel Medvedev, Sebastian Korda looks aside and taps one—Peter Korda, CZE, 1998.

Korda defeated former world No. 1 Medvedev of Russia in straight sets and two days later defeated 10th seed Hubert Harkaz of Poland in the fourth round 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (10 ) defeated by -7) On Sunday. On the same court that his father Peter visited 25 years earlier, Korda sealed his first Grand Slam quarterfinal berth. The 22-year-old’s Slam breakthrough in Melbourne — a city that gave Peter his only singles Slam win — may have been his second major draw there, but it hardly came out of the blue.

Rewind to the start of the 2021 season when the American, then outside the top 100, made the cut for the Australian Open qualifiers. Although the 22-year-old opted to stay away from Melbourne Park and instead played a low-key challenger in Quimper, France. The idea, frankly, was to get more matches and victories under the belt. Sure enough, he won that tournament.

Until then, Korda — trained in the early days by Peter and his mother Regina, also a former Top 30 women’s pro, coached by Rodek Stepanek and mentored by Andre Agassi — had previously She knew from “how good a tennis player I can be.”

A few months earlier in October 2020, Korda advanced to the Round of 16 of the Autumn French Open as the 213th-ranked qualifier. There, he played his idol Rafael Nadal, who was going down in straight sets but was not blown away. The name and nature of his race thrust him into the spotlight, but, again, he chose to return to the testing grind of the second-tier circuit.

A month later, he won his first title since turning pro in 2018, defeating India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan in the ATP Finals Challenger final. This would be the start of steady but significant progress on Korda’s tour. In 2021, after winning the Quimper Challenger to break into the top 100 rankings, Korda reached the quarterfinals of the ATP Masters in Miami, won his first ATP 250 title in Parma and lost to Carlos at the Next Gen A.T. The P finals became the final. Alcaraz.

Even as his fellow Spaniards were moving through the fast lane at Next Gen Star Two in 2022, Corda, who lost the ATP 250 final last year, was happy to go through a term he often uses — the process.

“Professional tennis, as I understand it, is a process that can take time,” Korda said in a 2021 interview with the paper. “I’m lucky that I have the time and I’m willing to put in all the hard work. I didn’t always understand it, but that’s what I’ve learned.

Whether it was a straight-sets loss to Nadal or a three-set match point loss to Novak Djokovic in the Adelaide final earlier this month, Korda’s learning curve is as fast as his aggressive style of play. At the Australian Open, he took out two tight tiebreakers with Medvedev and against Harkaz, and held on with two break points in the deciding fifth set at 5–5. It did not waver after its comfortable 7-3 lead was wiped out in the match tie-break.

“I think I’m very good at moving forward, learning from my mistakes, what I’ve done in the past, then using them in matches like this,” said Korda, who will face Karen Khachanov in the last eight. , said on Sunday.

“All the little moments that I’ve been through, kind of learning from them, being patient, being positive, going through the process, I think it’s really helped me move forward.”

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