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American Sebastian Korda ousts Fognini in Miami for first Top 20 win
The 20-year-old bounced back from a first-set blowout to beat the No. 17-ranked Italian and set up a third-round clash with Aslan Karatsev.
Published Mar 28, 2021
Sebastian Korda recorded the first Top 20 win of his young career on Saturday night, bouncing back from a first-set blowout to beat Fabio Fognini, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2, in the second round in Miami.
After getting broken in all four of his service games in the 30-minute first set, Korda never lost serve again the rest of the match, closing out the No. 17-ranked Italian after an hour and 46 minutes.
The 20-year-old American finished the match with a total of 20 winners, with his forehand the biggest weapon of the day, producing 10 of those winners—he also had five backhand winners and five aces.
He had been 0-3 against Top 20 players going in, with losses to Denis Shapovalov at the 2020 US Open, Rafael Nadal at the 2020 French Open and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Acapulco last week.
Awaiting Korda in the third round will be someone who’s been barreling towards the Top 20 in recent weeks, No. 27-ranked Aslan Karatsev, who beat Mikhail Kukushkin earlier in the day, 6-4, 6-3.
The two have never played at tour-level but they did play once below tour-level, with the American beating the red-hot Russian in the final round of qualifying at Roland Garros last year, 7-5, 6-2.
Fognini was one of three Italians in second-round action at the Masters 1000 event on Saturday, and the other two both won in straight sets, with No. 24 seed Lorenzo Sonego beating American qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo, 6-4, 7-6 (5), and Lorenzo Musetti beating No. 23 seed Benoit Paire, 6-3, 6-3.
Korda’s upset over Fognini was one of a slew of matches wrapping up on Saturday night, with a pair of Top 10 players—Andrey Rublev and Diego Schwartzman—also in action under the lights. The No. 8-ranked Rublev needed just 69 minutes to cruise past American Tennys Sandgren, 6-2, 6-1, while No. 9 Schwartzman outdid Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama, 6-3, 6-3, after an hour and 22 minutes.
Awaiting Rublev in the third round will be No. 29 seed Marton Fucsovics, the pair’s fourth meeting in the last six months—the Russian beat the Hungarian in the fourth round of the French Open last fall, and then in the final of Rotterdam and the quarterfinals of Dubai over the last few weeks.
Schwartzman next faces No. 25 seed Adrian Mannarino. It’ll be their first meeting in almost three years—the Argentine won their only tour-level meeting, 6-1, 6-3, in the first round of Madrid in 2018.