Oct/17

16

Here Comes Sebi Korda!

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Sebastian Korda had a breakthrough week this week in the $25,000 Houston Futures event.

The 17-year-old son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda, entered the Houston Futures ranked 1357 and coming off a recent win against Stanford star Tom Fawcett, ranked 900, in the first round of Stockton Challenger qualies, 7-5 in the third. (Fawcett had beaten ATP world no. 92 Ruben Bemelmans at the recent Tiburon Challenger.)

In Houston, Korda drew Japanese Kaichi Uchida, ranked 373 in the first round. Korda prevailed in a dramatic battle 7-6 (13-11), 7-6 (7-4). In the next round, Korda defeated an Argentine named Alan Kohen, ranked 1317, 64 76.

Into the quarters, Korda beat unranked Samuel Shropshire 63 75.

In the semis, Korda met ATP 314 Lucas Miedler of Austria. Miedler won the 2014 Australian Open boys doubles with Brad Mousley. Korda beat 21-year-old Miedler 61 62 though Miedler may have been spent from an exhausting draw including a marathon quarterfinal win vs Alexei Popyrin 76 in the third.

Into the finals, Korda played NCAA champion Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, who straight setted Christopher Eubanks and Austin Krajicek in the quarter and semi, respectively. Kwiatkowski, ranked 703, defeated Korda 62 62.

But it’s a positive result and valuable learning experience for young Korda, who stands six-foot four inches tall and won the USTA national clay courts last year. The Bradenton, FL based American is on track to have to make a major decision in the next few months – turn pro or play college tennis.

Earlier this year at Sarasota Open Challenger, Korda had a wildcard and lost first round to former top 100 player Blaz Rola 61 62.

But a lot can change in a few months and a result like this in Houston by Korda brings to mind the Jim Courier story. Courier was set to attend Southern Methodist University but he decided to play a Satellite in South America and won the title. And of course, the rest is history.  Courier never played college tennis at SMU. And a few years later he won Roland Garros.

We will be keeping an eye on young Sebi Korda here at tennis-prose so stay tuned. The Biofile I did with Sebi Korda will be posted later this month.

 

PHOTO BY MARIAN LAUDIN

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96 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    He will always be a star because of his exciting explosive style and his potential to always be a threat to beat anyone on any given day. He can blast Fed Djok and Nadal off the court. And he's a showman like Monfils. Not sure I buy any of his injuries given his propensity to need excuses to support his tanks and poor efforts. Not sure of all of his supposed injuries are not fabrications to excuse his bad losses. "Fabrications" as Wally Masur said players will create to protect their egos.

  • Hartt · October 19, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Someone who spoke to Nick’s father during the Laver Cup wrote that the the father said Nick will need surgery for his hip, but won’t have it until the clay season. There is no way to verify this, but I believe Nick really does have an ongoing problem with his hip. He admits that he does not train the way he should, so that is a recipe for disaster.

  • Thomas Tung · October 19, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Hip surgery at such a young age is really dangerous (as in, dangerous to longevity in this game). Just look what happened to poor Kuerten — his career was derailed just as he was about to take it into another level.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 19, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Guga was overtrained as a kid I was told. Trained and played too much and the hip crashed. Guga was an extremely hard worker and totally dedicated. Kyrgios may have been more dedicated when he was younger. I don't know, he sure seems to be playing well in certain matches with that supposedly faulty hip. Beating Nadal like he did in Cincy with that supposedly faulty hip doesn't fully compute in my opinion. It could be a real injury problem and that would be very sad news for tennis and Nick's future. Or it could be a fabrication to protect his ego and to have a convenient excuse handy for bad losses. One thing is for sure, tennis needs Nick on the scene. He's an electrifying player and one that intrigues fans and excites and attracts the kids who love Nick.

  • Front242 · October 20, 2017 at 2:25 am

    Looking at how Kyrgios walks with poor posture all hunched like Gasquet, I see no reason to doubt Kyrgios has hip problens. He has a very gangly, awkward and frail look about the way he walks.

  • catherine · October 20, 2017 at 3:13 am

    I’m glad to see so much discussion about Kyrgios :)

  • catherine · October 20, 2017 at 3:39 am

    Tomic had an operation for his hip problems and he’s not been the same since. Don’t know if there’s a connection.

  • catherine · October 20, 2017 at 4:24 am

    Off topic – Flashscore, which I use for live scores, have started including paragraphs on each player, stats, H2H etc which I find really useful and saves time looking up this stuff elsewhere.

  • Hartt · October 20, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Catherine, I agree that the preview info on Flashscore is very useful. I was just reading about the 2 matches today that I am especially interested in – Mischa vs Dimitrov and Kasatkina (or Dasha2 as we call her on another site, Gavrilova is Dasha1) and Begu. They had good news about Dasha, she is the favourite in her match. She is on my treats list, so am rooting big time for the young Russian.

    The news for Mischa was not so good, he and Grigor have not played often, but Dimitrov has won all their matches.

  • Hartt · October 20, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Regarding Nick, yes he does generate lots of discussion. Which reminded me of Bouchard, another player who is not having great results these days (and to be fair to Nick, she has been a lot worse), but still is a big topic on many sites. Anyway, Andrew would be very pleased. Despite crashing out in her 1R singles match, Genie is in the doubles SF in Luxembourg, playing with Flipkens. They will meet Friedsam/Lottner.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 20, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    I see nothing wrong with Nick's posture, just his unique body type. That same body whooped Fed Rafa and Djokovic twice this year.

  • catherine · October 20, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Hartt – my comment re Nick was a bit tongue in cheek – but I’m sure Scoop will forgive me :)

    I feel a bit sorry for Genie – but if she really can’t improve her singles play then maybe there’s a career for her in doubles. Perhaps might better suit her temperament.

  • Hartt · October 20, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Catherine, and the guys on this site have lots of obsessions in addition to Nick. Vince Spadea, anyone? (I know, I know, I read the book!) So I got your “tongue in cheek” comment. And I think this means I we have licence to talk as much as we want to about the players who interest us. :)

    Speaking of players who interest me, I was delighted with Kasatina’s win over Begu. The match just finished and Dasha2 won in SS, 6-2, 6-3. It had a lot to do with Begu’s poor play, she had over 40 UFEs.

    This was one of the few times that I saw OCC – usually they go to commercials during it. And one of the very few times it seemed helpful. Dasha was not doing as well early in the 2nd set. Her coach reminded her she was playing well, had won the first set, so no need to panic. But he also said she was not being aggressive enough, was waiting for Begu to make errors. (Not a totally unreasonable tactic for Dasha, given how many UFEs Begu was making.) But he said she should be more aggressive “in the legs and in the head.” She listened respectfully to him and put his advice into practice.

  • Hartt · October 20, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Genie and Flipkens won their doubles match, so are in the final. Genie has had 2 big problems this season. Injuries – Tom Tebbutt did an excellent piece about her on the Tennis Canada site. As he pointed out, just as she started to make headway she was injured, and that happened a few times during the season. The other big issue was lack of confidence. apparently she was doing fine on the practice court, only to fall apart during matches. Her super aggressive style depends on confidence, so if that is gone she is in big trouble.

    I don’t know how a player in a long slump regains confidence. Having an extensive period with no injuries would help. It is obvious she is not going to make adjustments in her style of play, because surely she would have done that by now. She says she does not feel the same pressure playing doubles, so that is one way she can find her game. At least it gives her some match play as well as enjoyment on the court.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 20, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Bouchard is shaping up to be the second coming of Kournikova. And that is not such a bad thing. Kournikova was fantastic for tennis. She had an excellent career which is largely forgotten now because she didn't win any singles titles or singles majors.

  • catherine · October 20, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Hartt –
    The problem with doubles for an ambitious singles player is that so often the singles and doubles clash and one of the doubles pair is left high and dry, often leaving a certain amount of ill-feeling. So it’s not a popular option these days. Navratilova/Shriver did well in the past because Martina liked the match practice and Pam was ok taking the support role.
    May work for Genie if she can reconcile herself to a good doubles career and a lesser one in singles.

    OCC -I’ve never seen Kerber have occ (although I’ve seen Torben signalling from the stands) and her comment to Cornet during their altercation in Beijing shed some light on that – she said ‘It’s not fair to blame your coach’ – so she wants to do things on her own during a match although she might be having second thoughts about that now.

    Toss up where Fisette goes next :)

  • catherine · October 20, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Scoop – I think Bouchard would like to be remembered as something more than a reincarnation of Kournikova. In any case, that role can’t be played twice.

  • Hartt · October 20, 2017 at 11:00 am

    I hope that Genie can still find more success in singles and not just be another Kournikova, although I agree Kournikova had a better career than she is given credit for. There is a joke in poker that ace, king unsuited is the Anna Kournikova – looks good but doesn’t deliver. It is a shame that injuries put an end to Kournikova’s career at age 21. She could well have had even more success in doubles.

    But Genie has already done better in singles, with 1 WTA title and 6 ITF. Anna has no WTA title and 2 ITF. Genie’s highest ranking was No. 5, Anna’s was No. 8. And Genie, with 1 GS final and 2 SFs, was much more successful at the Slams. But it is true, that unless she finds a way to turn things around, Genie will be remembered as a good-looking player who had one terrific season.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 20, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Catherine; I think a LOT of players would be very happy to have had or have a career similar to Kournikova's. What's so bad about being considered a Kournikova sequel?

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 20, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    If Kournikova had continued playing with better health who can say she would not have overcome her serve issues and put it all together and become a dominant player post age 25 like Kerber? Who can say with any certainty that Kournikova was destined to be an early flash in the pan who fizzled out early? We may never have seen the very best of Kournikova. Were it no for the injuries she may have won about five majors in singles. No one knows for sure. Look how long it took Wawrinka to find himself. Kournikova never really found herself as a player.

  • catherine · October 20, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Really Scoop, I don’t know. But I suspect most women players would like a career which focussed on their achievements rather than their looks and which didn’t end at 21, although that was unfortunately the result of injuries.

    And I didn’t say there was anything bad about being compared to Kournikova, just that you can’t do the same thing twice and Kournikolva was a one-off.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Well, Dimitrov is making a pretty good career as a spin off to you know who :) Kournikova has a lot to be proud of for her tennis accomplishments. Most super models are content having a career focused on their looks.

  • Hartt · October 20, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    The WTA has announced their player awards.

    Garbine Muguruza – Player of the Year
    Jelena Ostapenko – Most improved
    Sloane Stephens – Comeback player
    Cici Bellis – Newcomer of the Year
    Angelique Kerber – Jerry Diamond Aces Award, for off-court
    promotional and charitable activities
    Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan – Doubles

  • Hartt · October 20, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    My spacing was ignored, hope my post still makes sense.

  • catherine · October 20, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Dimitrov is pretty good looking in his own right – he could have had a decent career as a model himself but I suspect he’d rather win Wimbledon :)

    As for super-models, they wouldn’t be super-models without their looks. What else could you focus on ?

  • catherine · October 20, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Newcomer of the Year Angelique Kerber ? Is the WTA trying to be funny ?

    Oh – I see now. Maybe Angie should have cut down on some of those activities. Barbara Rittner certainly thought so. Maybe she will in 2018.
    I think Simona won last year.

  • Hartt · October 20, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Catherine, I don’t think Genie is ready to become a doubles specialist yet. It is more of a fun thing for her. She is still just 23 years old, so she has time to turn her singles career around. And she is not hurting for $. According to a Sporting News piece on Canadian tennis players, Genie won $557,215 in prize money this year ($US), but had a whopping $5.5 million in endorsements in 2016. Presumably some of that $ was from multi-year deals which will end if they haven’t already.

    Milos was the top earner with about $1.4 million in prize money and about $7 million in endorsements in 2016.

    Interestingly enough, it is Shapovalov’s name in the article’s title, although he had just $626,869 in prize $ (from just 18 ATP matches). He has sponsors like Nike and Biosteel but obviously did not make Forbes’ 2016 list. But he is the Canadian player with the star power right now.

  • catherine · October 20, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Hartt – Genie’s 23 and if she wants to succeed in singles she really should get a grip now – she’s losing badly too often and other players are passing her.
    And is it good that she’s made so much money so young through endorsements ?

    Don’t want to sound old and grumpy but even doubles shouldn’t be just a ‘fun’ thing for her. Does Genie really have the ambition ? Or the commitment ?

  • Hartt · October 20, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Don’t misunderstand me, I think she wants to win those doubles matches, she is a competitor after all. And despite all the emphasis that is placed on her looks (and she does take advantage of that), Genie describes herself as a jock. Perhaps it is more accurate to say she enjoys playing doubles, as I said before, she feels less pressure in those matches. Part of her problem playing singles is the incredible pressure she puts on herself.

    I think the early endorsements were not the best thing, perhaps not even so much because of the money but because of the time commitments that go with them. It must be hard for a young player to balance everything and to keep the necessary focus on tennis itself. Just like Kerber had to suddenly deal with everything that went with being the No. 1 player.

  • catherine · October 20, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Yes, I get that. Maybe Genie will, ironically, profit from having fewer endorsements if she’s not so much in the limelight. Less pressure and distraction.

    Luxembourg and Moscow – two Germans in the finals – I’m not predicting Moscow although Kasatkina must be favoured. Luxembourg I think Puig will win easily unless Witthoeft decides to exact revenge for Angie :) Carina’s quite good but not really at Monica’s level.

  • Hartt · October 20, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    I like young Kasatkina. She is a fairly aggressive player, despite not being a “Big Babe.” And she can grind it out when necessary – that was her tactic against Ostapenko when she won against her a couple times. She just kept getting the ball back again and again, driving Jelena nuts. Dasha’s win over Ostapenko for the title in Charleston meant I had a lovely European-style cake from a local deli. She is the only treats-eligible player in action this week, so I desperately want her to win Moscow. Besides, it will be very nice for the local fans. :)

  • catherine · October 21, 2017 at 2:58 am

    By the way – what makes a player ‘treats-eligible’ ? Do the treats have to match the nationality of the player ?
    How much chocolate can you eat ?

  • catherine · October 21, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Hartt – sorry about Dasha – but good win for Julia. You’ll have to wait for your treat :)

  • catherine · October 21, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Haven’t seen Georges play that much but I had a look at this match and I can’t work out why she has won so few tournaments. Good serve, forehand, fast, volleys a bit – will be ranked 27 now and replaces Angie as German No 1. They’re the same age nearly. Kerber has been No 1 in Germany since 2012 so she can’t complain –

    Great post match embrace between the two players – nice to see.

  • Hartt · October 21, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Sigh, my stream for Dasha’s match was not working very well, so I just saw a couple minutes here and there. I did see the exchange at the end – yes, that was good to see. And Goerges’ teary embrace with her coach.

    As for treats eligible players, there are 12 altogether, 3 WTA players and 9 ATP. They are players that I feel a connection with, and am not always sure why I am especially keen on those particular players. Some are top players, such as Federer, some are Canucks such as Milos and Denis. But others I simply liked from the first time I saw them play, such as Kohlschreiber, Kvitova, and Kasatkina. They must win a title for me to have a treat.

  • Hartt · October 21, 2017 at 9:06 am

    For your other question on treats-eligible players, I started out trying to match the treat to the player’s country, but that got to be too complicated. Now it is a European-type cake for the European players, apple strudel for Kohli, and usually pie for the Canucks, since I don’t make pies myself. Fed is the only chocolate guy – then of course it is Lindt chocolate! This certainly adds interest in rooting for them. :)

  • Hartt · October 21, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Because I could not see Dasha’s match I did watch part of the first set and the last 2 sets of the Bouchard/Flipkens doubles match. I had not heard of their opponents and must admit I don’t know their names. Bouchard/Flipkens lost in 3 sets, but it was a close match. Flipkens played well at the net, making some terrific volleys. But her serve was totally AWOL and her double faults were very costly.

    Genie was fine, she played better as the match went on, and seemed to find more confidence in her shots. The opponents were simply a bit more steady in the last 2 sets.

  • Hartt · October 21, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Speaking of friendly exchanges at the net, the one between Fognini and Grigor went on forever. It was Fognini who was all smiles, despite having just lost in SS. Maybe he is trying to improve his image! What I saw of the match was very entertaining – some terrific shots from both guys, some very good rallies.

  • catherine · October 21, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Hartt – you probably know this but the whole Dasha/Georges match is up on Youtube already if you’re interested in a retrospective.

  • Hartt · October 21, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Thanks for the info. Am not sure if I can handle seeing Dasha lose that badly, if the match had been closer, maybe. On Match Call Migrants they did an abbreviated match call. It sounds like Goerges played especially well. I guess she was due after not winning a title in several years.

    Am now waiting for Tsitsipas vs Schwartzman to begin. It could be a fun match. I expect that Diego, with his greater experience and excellent return, will prevail. But am looking forward to watching the Greek youngster.

  • catherine · October 21, 2017 at 10:51 am

    German double today – Witthoeft wins SS in Luxembourg, her first title.

    Something strange – pics of her on court don’t look remotely like her mugshot on Flashscore which presumably comes from the WTA. Odd.

  • Hartt · October 21, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Schwartzman won over Tsitsipas. Not a surprise that the experienced, steady Diego got the win, but I thought that young Stefanos played well overall. His future is looking bright. At one point he had to change his shoe during a game and ended up with one orange shoe and one white one. First time I have seen that!

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 21, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Hartt; Or it's that everyone loves Dimitrov. He is a very nice well liked guy. I don't think Dimitrov has an enemy or anything remotely close to an enemy. Fognini can be a prick to certain players but he also is pretty popular and well liked by a lot of players also.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 21, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Tsitsipas had a shoelace issue yesterday vs Goffin, he popped two laces, and now this shoe malfunction again today. Also saw a lace break issue in the Las Vegas doubles match with Spadea and I think it was Lickle's lace that popped. Gee, that sure would be a clever strategic was to freeze a server to have your shoelace break at such a strategic time :) And Lickle's lace did break right after Spadea held and so it was a long changeover for the next server Hach Verdugo :) who did hold and then they won the next two games also for 64.

  • Hartt · October 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    I’ve heard that Fognini is well-liked by many of the players. So if he can contain his behaviour on court that will be a huge step. I thought he must have a “good” side because I could not imagine the lovely Flavia marrying a complete jerk.

  • catherine · October 21, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Ha ha Hartt – many ‘lovely women’ have married complete jerks :)

    But I don’t think it’s true in this case. Fog just has to learn to keep his mouth shut.

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