By Daniel Perissé
Floridian Sebastian Korda made a successful debut at the 2021 Miami Open presented by Itaú this Thursday, March 26th. In the opening night session match on Grandstand, the Bradenton native cruised past Moldova’s Radu Albot 6-3, 6-0 in over an hour.
Son of former World No. 2 Petr Korda, the 20-year-old broke into the top 100 last month and reached a career-high No. 87 in the ATP Rankings. He now faces Italian Fabio Fognini, the No. 10 seed.
In the second match, Delray Beach native Coco Gauff lost to Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 1-6, 6-2, 6-3. The 16-year-old had entered a WTA 1000 event for the first time as a seeded player (No. 31).
In the third round, Sevastova books a meeting against former World No. 1 and No. 3 seed Simona Halep, who defeated France’s Caroline Garcia 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 in another three-setter.
“Sevastova is cutting the rhythm a little bit more. You never know what ball to expect from her. Sometimes she plays flat, very flat. Sometimes she can go high, sometimes slices, dropshots. So, it’s tough to play against her all the time”, affirmed the Romanian, who had problems with her shoulder during today’s match.
Another player who struggled to advance was Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka. After losing the first set 6-0 and having to save two match points in the second, the No. 7 seed came back to defeat Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3, 7-6(9).
Sabalenka’s next opponent is Russian Veronika Kudermetova, who edged past American Danielle Collins 6-3, 6-2. Czech Petra Kvitova, the No. 9 seed, advanced with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Alize Cornet, from France.
In the men’s draw, Croatia’s Marin Cilic beat Federico Coria, from Argentina, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. The former World No. 3 now plays No. 13 seed Cristian Garin, of Chile.
American qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo upset Former World No. 7 Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-4. This was just the first win in Miami for the Pittsburgh native in three attempts, while the 37-year-old Spaniard had his 17th tournament appearance. His next opponent will be Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego.
Elsewhere, 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti defeated American wild card Michael Mmoh 6-4, 6-4 and now faces France’s Benoit Paire, the No. 23 seed. The Italian player entered the top 100 after reaching the semifinal in Acapulco.