These are the wins that Sebastian Korda will remember for a long time.
For the second time this week, the #NextGenATP American survived a deciding-set marathon to advance at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Quimper, France. Two wins, both against French opponents and both of the comeback variety have Korda on the precipice of cracking the Top 100 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.
Seeded second at a Challenger tournament for the first time in his young career, the 20-year-old is adapting to the pressure of being the player to beat. Two days after saving a match point against qualifier Tristan Lamasine, Korda rallied from a set down to oust Mathias Bourgue 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4 in two hours and 11 minutes.
The World No. 103 has claimed 11 of his last 12 matches and is riding the momentum from a season-opening final appearance at the ATP 250 event in Delray Beach. He is projected to break into the Top 100 for the first time with a win over another Frenchman, Enzo Couacaud, in Friday’s quarter-finals. Couacaud defeated wild card Evan Furness 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 to conclude Day 4 at the Open Quimper Bretagne Occidentale.
In other action, qualifier Kacper Zuk is continuing his hot streak on the hard courts of Quimper. The 22-year-old Pole is one to watch on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2021 and has not dropped a set in reaching the quarter-finals this week. Wins over former World No. 39 Peter Gojowczyk and Sunday’s Istanbul champion Arthur Rinderknech have the World No. 267 surging towards the Top 200.
It was sweet revenge for Zuk, who fell to Rinderknech in the semi-finals in Calgary, Canada nearly a year ago. This time, Zuk earned a 7-6(7), 6-2 win over the home favourite to set an encounter with Slovakia’s Filip Horansky. One day after upsetting top seed Lucas Pouille, Horansky rallied past Maximilian Marterer 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-4.
The rest of the quarter-final slate features French wild card Constant Lestienne against 19-year-old Brandon Nakashima and Ukrainian qualifier Illya Marchenko facing an in-form Benjamin Bonzi. Bonzi is coming off a final appearance in Istanbul a week ago and has captured a pair of deciding-set tie-breaks this week in Quimper. Earlier on Thursday, he stormed back to defeat Yannick Maden 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(5).
Clear Skies Welcome Antalya Launch
After nearly five straight days of torrential rain, the clay-court event in Antalya, Turkey kicked off in picture perfect conditions. With tornado-like wind gusts and nonstop rain prohibiting play from Saturday to Wednesday afternoon, qualifying was finally completed on a busy Thursday.
In total, 38 matches were spread across eight courts, with singles qualifying, singles main draw and doubles action getting underway. Top seed Jaume Munar, #NextGenATP star Lorenzo Musetti and Turkish wild card Cem Ilkel all punched their ticket to the quarter-finals. They each won a pair of matches without dropping a set.
In addition, veterans Tommy Robredo, Paolo Lorenzi and Alessandro Giannessi advanced to the second round, joining Portugal’s Joao Domingues and Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez. Domingues needed three hours and 10 minutes to overcome Mohamed Safwat in a deciding tie-break, saving two match points along the way.
On Friday, first and second round play is scheduled to be completed, with second seed Daniel Elahi Galan, 20-year-old Thiago Seyboth Wild and Croatian teen Duje Ajdukovic kicking off their campaigns.