Hurkacz Serves Past Korda, Seals Shanghai Final Spot

  • Posted: Oct 14, 2023

Hurkacz Serves Past Korda, Seals Shanghai Final Spot

Pole will take on Rublev or Dimitrov for his second ATP Masters 1000 crown

Can Hubert Hurkacz’s booming delivery help the Pole go all the way at the Rolex Shanghai Masters?

The 16th-seeded Pole produced a serving masterclass on Saturday to down Sebastian Korda 6-3, 6-4 and reach the championship match at the ATP Masters 1000 event. Hurkacz did not face a break point as he consistently found unreturnable deliveries to prevent Korda making any inroads on return. That dominance on serve allowed him to hit freely on return, and he notched a break in each set to ease to a 77-minute victory.

“I’m just really happy with my performance today,” said Hurkacz, who won 85 per cent (40/47) of points behind his first serve in the semi-final clash. “I was serving well, playing some good groundstrokes and definitely putting pressure on Sebi from the ground.”

As well as moving Hurkacz within one win of lifting his second Masters 1000 trophy, Saturday’s triumph against Korda also further boosted the Pole’s late charge towards the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals. He is up three spots to 13th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, and will rise to 11th if he can defeat Andrey Rublev or Grigor Dimitrov in Sunday’s final in Shanghai.

Korda’s impressive run to the semi-finals had included upsetting Daniil Medvedev and edging Ben Shelton in a quarter-final thriller. The 23-year-old American was unable to bring the best of his all-court game to Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena on Saturday, however, largely due to Hurkacz’s perfectly executed gameplan.

The World No. 16 struck the ball with pace and precision from deep to a level that Korda struggled to match, while he was almost irresistible on serve. Hurkacz sent down 14 aces and repeatedly deflated Korda’s attempts to settle in return games with well-placed deliveries at key moments.

“I’m working on being difficult to play against,” said Hurkacz, who has now fired 77 aces across his Shanghai run, the most in the draw. “It’s the same with every opponent. They try to come out with their best foot forward that day and they’re trying to [implement] their tactics or plan against you. You’ve just got to stay mentally strong and really battle.”

With his triumph, Hurkacz advanced to a Masters 1000 final for the third consecutive season. The Pole lifted the trophy in Miami in 2021 and was a finalist in Montreal in 2022. If he can overcome fifth seed Rublev or 18th seed Dimitrov in Sunday’s championship match, Hurkacz willl claim his seventh ATP Tour crown.

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