Sebastian Korda breaks through on Parma clay

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Parma, Italy

On the eve of the French Open, 20-year-old American Sebastian Korda scored a career breakthrough when he beat Italian Marco Cecchinato, 6-2, 6-4, in Parma for a first title.

Korda, the son of former world No. 2 and Australian Open winner Petr Korda, had never reached a final on the ATP tour and before the Parma event, had never won consecutive matches on clay.

Cecchinato, who won all three of his titles on clay, comes from Brescia, 90 kilometres from Parma.

The fans allowed into the first-time event supported for the local boy. “Today I played a really tough opponent and the crowd wasn’t easy,” Korda said.

“They kept cheering him on, but I’m really proud of myself and how I handled it.” Although his father is Czech, Sebastian Korda, who was born in Florida, chose to represent the US.

Saturday’s victory made him the first American player to win a clay court tournament since Sam Querrey in Belgrade 11 years ago.

“This is something that I’ve dreamed of,” Korda said, adding that he had expected to win a title sooner, naming an event in Florida in January.—APP