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Sebastian Korda Surprises 2022 Finalist Daniil Medvedev in Australian Open Upset

Sebastian Korda of the United States celebrates after winning a point during the third round singles match against Daniil Medvedev during day five of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Tennis is a numbers game where results equal respect.

Clearly, Sebastian Korda doesn’t give a damn about digits.

In a bold all-court performance, Korda broke Daniil Medvedev in his opening service game of each set, sending the 2022 finalist packing in a superb 7-6(7), 6-3, 7-6(4) Australian Open triumph.

On his fourth match point, the 29th-seeded Korda cracked a diagonal forehand winner just inside the sideline then thrust his arms in the air to celebrate his first Top 10 win in a Grand Slam tournament.

“First of all, thank you guys for the atmosphere and support you guys were awesome,” Korda said in his on-court interview afterward. “It was an unbelievable match.

“I kind of knew what I had to do. I stuck with it even when I was going up and down with emotions. I’m thrilled right now. It was an amazing match for me.”

Twenty-five years after his father, Petr Korda, defeated Marcelo Rios to capture the Australian Open title, Sebastian Korda was flying high in the nation where his sisters, golfers Nelly Korda and Jessica Korda, have both won majors.

“I’m definitely the worst athlete in my family,” Korda joked to John Fitzgerald afterward.

It’s the biggest Grand Slam win of Korda’s career and sends the 2018 Australian Open boys’ champion into his first AO fourth round where he will face big-serving Hubert Hurkacz.

The 10th-seeded Hurkacz held off 20th-seeded Denis Shapovalov 7-6(3), 6-4, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3 to reach his first Melbourne round of 16 in his fifth appearance down under.

The seventh-seeded Medvedev spent much of tonight’s three-hour match playing catch-up from the very start.

Credit Medvedev for battling from a break down to drag the third set into a tiebreaker, but Korda outclassed the former world No. 1 at critical stages.

The defeat means both 2022 AO champion Rafael Nadal and finalist Medvedev failed to survive the third round in Melbourne. 

Typecast as a tremendous talent who can have trouble closing against top players, Korda took the court winning just one of his last eight matches against Top 10 opponents. Earlier this month, Korda  pushed Novak Djokovic to three sets in the Adelaide final before bowing 7-6(8), 6-7(3), 4-6. 

Carrying the confidence from his Adelaide run, Korda came out with a clear and simple game plan: Rip his forehand with damaging intent, take the ball earlier than his opponent and force Medvedev to his own forehand on the run.

Playing assertive all-court tennis, Korda nearly doubled Medvedev’s winner output—50 to 28—won 36 of 48 trips to net and converted five of 10 break points.

Clad in a match canary-colored Nike top, Radek Stepanek, Korda’s coach, was jumping out of his seat after nearly every pivotal point urging his charge to keep applying pressure.

On his fourth match point, Korda went for it. Slashing an inside out forehand, Korda closed in style and thrust his arms in the air while his girlfriend wiped back tears and Stepanek wore a wide grin.