Hubert Hurkacz advances to Delray Beach Open final

Hurkacz defeated American qualifier Christian Harrison 7-6 (4), 6-4 on Tuesday.

Hubert Hurkacz waves to the crowd after defeating his opponent in the semifinals. - GETTY IMAGES

Number-four-seeded Hubert Hurkacz advanced to his second career ATP Tour final by beating American qualifier Christian Harrison 7-6 (4), 6-4 on Tuesday at the Delray Beach Open.

SCORE CENTRE

Hurkacz’s only other final was in 2019, when he won at Winston-Salem to become the second Polish tour-level champion in the Open era. His opponent on Wednesday will be Sebastian Korda, who defeated Cameron Norrie of Britain.

Harrison, 26, was playing in his first career semifinal. He double-faulted on his final two service points to fall behind in the second set.

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Hurkacz served for the match, fell behind 15-40 and then closed it out by winning four consecutive points, the last three with big serves.

'Great start of the year'

He’s ranked 35th, and his success at Delray Beach means he may be seeded at next month’s Australian Open. That would allow him to avoid such title contenders as Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in the first round, he noted.

“Obviously it’s a step forward, and I want to be playing better and better,” Hurkacz said. “It’s a great start of the year.”

Sebastian Korda books spot in maiden final

Sebastian Korda, who hit the headlines by reaching the fourth round of the French Open in October, has booked a spot in his first ATP Tour final after beating Britain's Cameron Norrie in the Delray Beach Open semifinals.

Korda, the son of former World No. 2 and 1998 Australian Open champion Petr, made his Grand Slam debut at the US Open as a wildcard last year.

The 20-year-old was ranked 213th before Roland Garros but has climbed to 119th and is on track to break the top 100 soon thanks to his exploits at the ATP 250 event in Florida, where he will face Hubert Hurkacz in the final.

"For me the biggest thing was kind of getting my consistency up," said Korda, whose sisters Nelly and Jessica play on the LPGA Tour, the elite women's golf circuit.

"Before I'd kind of missed the balls that I don't miss now. So it's super big for me to be playing these matches and kind of just getting a feel for my body, growing into my body and kind of building myself out both tennis wise and physically."

His run in Paris was ended by his idol Rafa Nadal and despite losing 6-1 6-1 6-2 to the Spaniard Korda says it was a "big step in the right direction" for his career.

Korda ended the 2020 season with his first ATP Challenger Tour title and spent two weeks in training in Las Vegas under former world number one Andre Agassi.

He said he was having "a lot of fun" with his family at the tournament.

"If someone told me that I'd be in the finals of my first ATP event here at the start of the week, I'd be thrilled," he added. "I don't see why not to have a good smile on my face."

- REUTERS