06 Jun 2017

Sebastian Korda into Roland Garros round-of-16

News Article

By Sandra Harwitt

Photo: Susan MullaneSebastian Korda (USA)

PARIS - It was 25-years-ago that Sebastian Korda’s father, Petr, playing under the Czech flag, was a Roland Garros finalist, losing out to Jim Courier for the trophy.

That was 1992. Now in 2017, Sebastian Korda, playing as an American, which is the country the 16-year-old has always lived in, is playing in his first Roland Garros junior competition.

On Tuesday, the unseeded Korda won a 64 76 (4) second round outing over Korean qualifier Uisung Park.

Korda’s match was stopped by rain as it was close to heading into the second-set tiebreaker and the first thing he did when returned to the locker room was put in a call to his dad, who is at a LPGA golf event with his sisters.

“I had a good win today so I’m pretty happy right now,” Korda said. “Coming off court was pretty tough and I had just lost the point. I relaxed with my coach and some friends and came back and played pretty well.”

Tall and lanky just like his father and his mother, former Czech player, Regina Rajchrtova, the unseeded Korda’s only played one other junior Grand Slam at the US Open last year. He reached the round-of-16 at the time.

“It’s amazing,” he said, of being at Roland Garros. “It’s as good as it gets. The courts are amazing, the officials are amazing, the ball boys. There’s nothing better than this.”

Earlier this year, Korda was a finalist at the Easter Bowl in March, but his career has been directed by his parents, who are determined not to allow him to overplay. It is the same strategy they used for his two older sisters, Jessica and Nelly, who are both LPGA card-carrying golfers.

When Korda is done playing at Roland Garros - hopefully not until the end - he will head to the Czech Republic to see his grandparents. When younger the family used to spend a lot more of their vacations there, and in Europe, which helped Korda develop a love for playing on red clay.

“I love clay,” Korda said. “When I was little I came to Europe a lot with my family and I used to play on it.”

Dad will be at Wimbledon, but he is not alone here as he’s with two USTA coaches - Dean Goldfine and Leo Azevedo. His personal coach at the USTA is Goldfine, who has coached many players in the past, including Andy Roddick.

At one point, Korda was heading towards ice hockey - he played right wing. He played way more hockey than tennis until the age of 12. That’s when he went to the US Open with his parents and decided tennis was his sports ticket.

“I went to the US Open with my dad, with one of his players, Radek Stepanek, and I think he went three rounds that year and I just fell in love with it” Korda said. “The atmosphere was just amazing, the hustle you have to put into every point. I just love it.”

In the round-of-16, Korda will face fellow unseeded American Gianni Ross, who upset ninth seed Yuta Shimizu of Japan 06 64 64 on Tuesday.

Unseeded Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild, playing in his first Grand Slam junior event, upset seventh seed Yshai Oliel of Israel 36 63 75.

Oliel was a finalist at the Australian Open this season, which was his best career showing at a junior Grand Slam, although he did win the junior doubles title here at Roland Garros last year.

“It was tough,” said the 17-year-old Seyboth. “That’s a big win and that was a great match. He played the first set really well and he was very solid. I was a little bit nervous. I changed it a lot in the second set because I was a break down. I had to find a way to play.”

Seyboth hails from a small town in Brazil with a very large name - Marechai, Candido, Rondon, Parana - but now lives in Rio with his dad and his sister. He trains with Brazilian Davis Cup captain Joao Zwetsch when at home.

Seyboth will play another seed in the round-of-16 when he faces 12th seed Jurij Rodionov of Austria

In girls’ action, top seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia advanced with a 63 60 win over unseeded Elysia Bolton of USA, and 15th seed Maria Camila Osorio Serrano of Colombia took out lucky loser Barbora Matusova of Slovakia 64 46 64.