Rising American stars and good friends Tommy Paul and Sebastian Korda breezed through their quarterfinal rounds at the Emilia-Romagna Open on Thursday in impressive fashion. Paul dispatched the hard-hitting Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-4, while Korda overpowered Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-3.

Both Paul and Korda have a legitimate chance to capture their respective first ATP title, so it’s safe to expect a grueling battle between two of America’s most promising talents. Korda outlasted Paul to start the year in Delray Beach, but the 2015 Roland Garros Junior champion arguably plays his best tennis on red clay. According to the oddsmakers, Korda is listed as a -157 favorite.

From a betting perspective, the value may lie in Paul avenging his Delray Beach loss on his preferred surface, but after Korda dismantled top-seeded Lorenzo Sonego, we aren’t going to oppose the 20-year-old in this current form.

Paul’s phenomenal athleticism, combined with his seriously good improvisational skills, will present Korda with a much more difficult set of challenges than the overmatched Nishioka.

You don’t have to be a tennis expert to see that Paul was blessed with skills that can’t be taught. 


But the same goes for Korda, who has been painting lines all week, and hitting his forehand with power, accuracy and consistency.

When Korda’s forehand is firing there’s not much his opponents can do, because his backhand is simply sensational.


With so much on the line between the two great friends and practice partners, it’s safe to expect a hard-fought, topsy-turvy encounter. I wouldn’t recommend betting on this match, but it seems the safest play is to pick the over 21.5 game total.

The Pick: Over 21.5 games