Sebastian Korda passed his Italian test on Thursday with flying colours, downing home favourite Lorenzo Musetti 4-2, 4-3(4), 4-2 to reach the semi-finals at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
Despite winning his opening two round-robin matches, the American knew a three or four-set defeat to Musetti would see him bundled out of the tournament at the expense of the 19-year-old.
But as Korda has done throughout the season, he produced a resilient performance when it mattered, overcoming Musetti and the crowd at the Allianz Cloud to secure victory in 69 minutes.
— Next Gen ATP Finals (@nextgenfinals) November 11, 2021
The 21-year-old’s triumph means he tops Group B and will face fellow American Brandon Nakashima in the semi-finals, while runner up Sebastian Baez will play Group A winner Carlos Alcaraz on Friday.
In a high-pressure match, Korda was strong on serve against Musetti, winning 90 per cent (27/30) of points behind his first delivery. The World No. 39 coped with the Italian’s variety well and looked sharp at the net throughout to level their ATP Head2Head series at 1-1.
Ruthless Alcaraz Sinks Cerundolo In Milan
Korda has now earned 30 tour-level wins in a breakthrough season. The second seed won his maiden tour-level crown in Parma in May and recorded his first Top 10 victory against then-World No. 9 Diego Schwartzman en route to the quarter-finals in Miami.
Musetti edged Frenchman Hugo Gaston in five sets on Wednesday to keep his semi-final hopes alive after suffering defeat to Baez on opening night in Milan. But he had no answer for Korda’s heavy-hitting, with the American avenging his Lyon defeat.