Sebastian Korda only dropped three games against Radu Albot on Thursday to win his debut match at the Miami Open presented by Itau in emphatic style.
After fighting through a tight opening set, Korda was nearly untouchable in the second against the Moldovan, who is ranked 10 spots higher at No. 77 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Korda broke the Albot serve four times and fired 24 winners on his way to a 6-3, 6-0 victory.
Korda started the season by reaching his first ATP Tour final at the Delray Beach Open by Vitacost.com, notching wins over the likes of Tommy Paul and John Isner. He’s been on the rise since and won an ATP Challenger Tour title in Quimper.
The in-form American had the momentum on his side against Albot in Miami. Korda had him under pressure from the start, and Albot had to save five break points in his very first service game. It didn’t get any easier from there, with Korda taking control at 4-2 and closing out the opening set.
Sixteen of Korda’s 24 winners came off the forehand wing, and it was the shot that dictated play for the American during the one-sided set. He reeled off the last seven games in a row to seal his first ATP Masters 1000 victory in an hour and 16 minutes.
Korda will face 10th seed Fabio Fognini in his next match – and the pair will be seeing a lot of each other as they’re set to play in the first round of doubles as well. Korda will partner with countryman Michael Mmoh to face Fognini and Maximo Gonzalez on Friday.
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Elsewhere, Denis Kudla rallied from a set down to defeat in-form Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The American, who was seeking his first tour-level victory since the 2019 US Open, converted two of his three break points to advance after one hour and 54 minutes. Kudla will face Delray Beach champion Hubert Hurkacz in the second round.
Jordan Thompson needed two hours and 12 minutes to earn a 7-6(6), 6-4 victory against Federico Delbonis. The Aussie, who reached last month’s Great Ocean Road Open quarter-finals, saved a set point at 5/6 in the first-set tie-break to reach the second round. Thompson will meet three-time quarter-finalist Milos Raonic in his next match.