Sebastian Korda’s love affair with the Miami Open presented by Itau continued in style Thursday, with the American dispatching Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1, 6-1 to reach the second round.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a run to the quarter-finals on his debut at the ATP Masters 1000 event last year when he was ranked No. 87 in the ATP Rankings. Now at a career-high No. 38, Korda set the wheels in motion for another strong week with a dominant one-hour, 11-minute win over Spaniard Davidovich Fokina.
“I played some long points. It was pretty warm out there so I am super happy to get through,” Korda said in his on-court interview. “I made him run around a bit. I think I did a good job on that today and am super happy with the way I played.”
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The American, who eliminated seeds Fabio Fognini, Aslan Karatsev and Diego Schwartzman in Miami in 2021, fired the ball through the court with great power and precision in his first ATP Head2Head meeting against the World No. 43.
“I made the quarter-finals last year and ever since I was a little kid I came to this tournament,” Korda added. “Now to be able to be here and compete myself, I think little Sebi would be very happy.”
With his victory, Korda will next play 32nd seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in what will be the first clash between the pair.
Korda arrives in Miami on the back of two promising performances at the BNP Paribas Open, where he defeated Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis before falling agonizingly short against World No. 3 Rafael Nadal in three sets.
The 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals runner up is competing in his sixth tour-level event of the year in Florida, with his best result this season a run to the last eight on home soil in Delray Beach last month.
Davidovich Fokina was making his Miami debut and is one of nine Spaniards in the singles field. The 22-year-old advanced to the quarter-finals in Doha last month.
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Jenson Brooksby recovered from a slow start to earn his first main-draw win in Miami, downing resilient Argentina Federico Coria 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
With his back against the wall, the 21-year-old once again showed a fighting spirit which has become a facet of his dynamic game.
The American raised his level and intensity as the clash went, grinding down the 30-year-old on Grandstand with his array of shots to advance after two hours and four minutes in the pair’s first ATP Head2Head meeting.
When the pressure has been on Brooksby over the past year, he has normally found the answers. Since the beginning of 2021, the American has climbed from outside the Top 300 to a current career-high No. 39, advancing to tour-level finals in Newport and Dallas on home soil.
Brooksby fell at the second-round stage of qualifying in Miami 12 months ago, but is a different physical and mental proposition now. He arrived at the second ATP Masters 1000 event of the season full of confidence following his run to the fourth round at the BNP Paribas Open, where he earned his first Top 5 win against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The 21-year-old is aiming to build further momentum this week with 18th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili awaiting next.