WATCH: Korda visited the Tennis Channel Live desk after his titanic win over Alcaraz.

Sebastian Korda claims a key victory in the battle for Gen Z supremacy, conquering Miami Open champion Carlos Alcaraz, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (5), 6-3 to advance at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

After a disappointing defeat to a streaking Rafael Nadal at the BNP Paribas Open—during which Korda led 5-2 in the third—the three-hour epic on Court Rainier III serves as some redemption for the rising American star.

“After losing to a Spaniard in Indian Wells and serving for it, it was nice to get a victory today,” Korda said on-court.

At 21, the son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda has made steady improvements since roaring into the fourth round of Roland Garros two years ago. Capable on all surfaces, Korda reached his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal on the hard courts of Miami and won his first ATP title on clay last spring.

"I'm very comfortable on the clay," Korda said in press. "I kind of grew up on the clay, the green clay in Florida, a little bit of red clay when we would travel to Prague, Czech Republic.

"I know how to play on clay. I move pretty well on clay. I'm very comfortable on it. I'd like to think I can play on all surfaces. Definitely my game is more of a faster surface, but I do enjoy playing on clay. I think I can have some good results on clay."

The young American ended his 2021 season just outside the Top 40, having finished runner-up at the Next Gen Finals to Alcaraz in their first ATP meeting.

Quickly as Korda has entered the conversation, Alcaraz has enjoyed an utterly exponential rise up the ATP rankings, arriving at the Monte Carlo Country Club as the No. 8 seed and on the precipice of his Top 10 debut in the wake of his own breakthrough Miami win. A month removed from his 19th birthday, the protégé of former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero made his first major quarterfinal at the 2021 US Open and, like Korda, pushed Rafael Nadal to three sets at Indian Wells in March.

Aiming to match only Novak Djokovic—who clinched the Miami-Monte Carlo double in 2015—all eyes were on a potential meeting between Alcaraz and the world No. 1 when the draw came out; compatriot Alejandro Davidovich Fokina put the kibosh on that possibility when he outlasted Djokovic in three topsy-turvy sets.


I had to just stay calm and believe in my returning. It was super tough: every time you’d throw up the ball, it would move around. It was super tough to serve today but I’m super happy with the way I handled myself. Sebastian Korda

With plenty still to play for, Alcaraz came out firing and was first to break point, pushing Korda on serve from the first game. Wild momentum swings followed from there as Korda won nine of 11 points to fall just short of a 5-2 lead. Alcaraz would break back and twice serve for the opening set; Korda broke back each time and dominated the ensuing tiebreak. Playing far greater offense in the 66-minute set, Korda matched Alcaraz in unforced errors but struck twice as many winners (14 to 7).

The Spanish teen made a swift response to start the second set: storming through the first three games, he forced a backhand error from Korda to break serve and allowed the American just one point on return.

Korda would soon get on the board, however, and emerge from a subsequent exchange of breaks at four games apiece. The return-heavy contest was reminiscent of when Korda helped set a Wimbledon record when his 18-game, fifth-set defeat to Karen Khachanov featured 13 breaks of serve; 22 games into his match with Alcaraz, half were breaks. Breezy conditions surely played a part with winds nearing 20 miles per hour, compounding the emotional stakes of a Next-Next Gen clash.

"It was very tricky," Korda said. "Up top it would go one way, and then it would kind of swoop down and tornado while you were playing. You never knew what you were going to get.

“I had to just stay calm and believe in my returning. It was super tough to serve today but I’m super happy with the way I handled myself.”

Holding serve when it mattered most, Korda saved three set points to put the pressure back on Alcaraz, who replied by saving two break points as the match headed—however improbably—towards a second tiebreaker.


An ill-timed Korda double fault handed Alcaraz a 4-2 mini-break before the first change of ends and a backhand error guaranteed two more set points from the Spaniard, who ripped a forehand winner to force a decider.

Buoyed by the comeback, Alcaraz began the final set up 2-0 lead but as with most leads, it would not last. Korda would reel off five of the next six games to find himself serving for the match.

Though Alcaraz would save a match point, Korda would not be denied, edging over the finish line just as the match passed the three-hour mark. Despite the wind, Korda can be pleased with a relentlessly aggressive mindset, making 36 winners (15 more than Alcaraz) to 59 unforced errors, and made an audacious 44 attempts at net, winning 34.

“I hope not to give up quite so many [breaks],” Korda said going forward. “I did get a lot of good practice on my return, but I don’t know what to say. It was a crazy match!”

Up next for the American is countryman and Indian Wells champ Taylor Fritz, who took out Marin Cilic in three sets.