It may not come as a shock that Sebastian Korda upset 12th seed Cameron Norrie in the first round of the Australian Open. But few could have predicted the dominance with which the 21-year-old American dispatched his British opponent on Monday on his debut in Melbourne.
The World No. 43 cruised past Norrie 6-3, 6-0, 6-4, in the sort of never-in-doubt route normally reserved for the game’s elite. A former boys’ singles champion Down Under, Korda had the World No. 12 under his thumb from the first ball of the match.
“It wasn’t easy. I didn’t get a lot of preparation, didn’t get any matches under my belt,” Korda said in his post-match press conference after he was forced to withdraw from the Adelaide International 1 in the first week of the season due to testing positive for Covid-19. “But I am just super happy with the way I came out. I stuck with my tactics. They worked really well and [I am] really comfortable on these courts.”
Thanks to an immediate break in each set, Korda never trailed in Kia Arena. He did save three break points in the match—one in each set—in addition to converting on five of his 10 break point chances.
“We played one year ago in Delray Beach in the semi-finals, and I also practised with him here, so I learned a couple of things during the practice and just used the tactics that I did with my team really well today,” Korda added. “I think even in the tight situations I still stayed with it. I kept being aggressive, using my powerful strokes on these fast courts.”
The American was competing for the first time this season and celebrated his one-hour, 42-minute win in style, punctuating the victory with a scissor kick in honour of his father and coach, 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda.
Next up for Korda, who captured his maiden tour-level title in Parma last year, is the winner of the all-French clash between World No. 100 Corentin Moutet and wild card Lucas Pouille.
Norrie won tour-level titles in Los Cabos and Indian Wells in 2021 and made his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin as an alternate. However, the 26-year-old has yet to find his top form this season.