29th seed Sebastian Korda of the United States beat 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 3-6 6-3 6-2 1-6 7-6(7) in a pulsating fourth round match at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Sunday. The match lasted for almost four hours, and the 22-year-old American prevailed in the end.
This is the first time that the talented American has made it to the quarterfinal of any Grand Slam. He will face Karen Khachanov of Russia in the quarterfinal on Tuesday.
How Sebastian Korda beat Hubert Hurkacz at the Australian Open
Hurkacz’s first-serve ratio dropped after an impressive first set:
Hurkacz hit his first serve really well from the beginning and Korda found it difficult to deal with it. The Pole regularly breached the 200 kmph mark with his first serve, with one of them clocking 219 kmph.
Korda struggled to return well against a barrage of Hurkacz’s powerful first delivery and his own first serve was a modest 43% in the first set. As a result, Hurkacz managed to get the crucial break of serve, which was enough for him to win the set.
However, Hurkacz’s first serve percentage dropped drastically to 54% and 50% in the second and third sets, respectively, from a healthy 70% in the first, and Korda took advantage. He broke Hurkacz in the sixth game of the second set before winning it and then raced to a 4-0 lead in the third, as the Pole committed nine unforced errors in the first three games of the set.
The two players engaged in a number of forehand crosscourt exchanges, but Korda often pulled the trigger by then going down-the-line with his forehand, which kept troubling the Pole.
Hurkacz recovered in the fourth set, but Korda kept his cool to win the fifth:
Hurkacz came up with a much-improved performance in the fourth set, as Korda’s first serve ratio dropped to 57% in the set. Hurkacz was more disciplined and broke the American twice to walk away with the set.
It was always going to be difficult for Korda if the Pole landed his first serves at a healthy frequency and that proved to be the case in the last two sets. The final set went into a tie-break as neither of the players could break each other.
Korda raced to a 7-3 lead in the tie-break, but committed a few costly errors to allow the Pole to bounce back and level the score at 7-7. However, the American then got a mini-break again and then served out the match, hitting a down-the-line pass off his backhand to finish it off.
Hurkacz hit 49 winners in the match, including 19 aces, but also committed 60 unforced errors against Korda’s 52, which proved to be the difference in an extremely close match.
Main Photo from Getty.