Sebastian Korda clawed into a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final Sunday with a five set upset of 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz to keep his hopes alive of matching father Petr’s Australian Open exploits.
The American 29th seed came out on top of a rollercoaster tiebreak to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (10/7) at Rod Laver Arena.
He will play Karen Khachanov for a place in the semifinals after the 18th seed crushed Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-0, 6-0, 7-6 (7/4).
Korda, whose father Petr won the title in 1998, had produced one of the performances of his career to upset two-time Australian Open finalist Daniil Medvedev in the third round. And he dug deep after a slow start to claim another big-name win.
“Awesome, I couldn’t have done it without (the crowd), they pushed me through,” he said.
“I wasn’t feeling too much energy towards the fourth and the fifth but they picked me up. I just tried to stay as calm as I possibly could. It was a late night match before (against Medvedev) but today was daytime and different conditions. But I’m very happy, the outcome’s good.”
Defeat was a bitter pill for Hurkacz, who was aiming to become the first Polish man ever to reach the Melbourne Park quarter-finals.
The Pole took immediate charge on a hot day to break and race through the opening set. But Korda woke up and hauled himself back into the contest, improving his first serve percentage while cutting down on unforced errors. He worked a break to move 3-2 clear and held on to take the second set.
With Hurkacz on the back foot, the American kept the pressure on and raced into a 4-0 lead in set three, but lost his focus as the fourth set got underway. The Pole won five games in a row to take the set to a decider, where they went toe-to-toe until the drama-filled tiebreak.