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Korda's Joy Turns To Despair At Winston-Salem Open

25 August 2023 By ATP Staff
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© Jared Tilton/Getty Images American took tumble midway through third set


Sebastian Korda’s delight at saving a match point to reach the Winston-Salem semi-finals Thursday has been shattered by his forced withdrawal from the tournament due to an ankle injury.

The 23-year-old American injured his left ankle when he slipped and fell midway through the third set of his 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(7) victory over veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the first quarter-final match of the day.

Although he completed the match, after receiving treatment he announced his withdrawal shortly after 8pm. The withdrawal results in his would-be semi-final opponent, Czech Jiri Lehecka, advancing to the final.

"I have taken the tough decision to pull out. The ankle wasn't getting any better,” Korda said. “Hopefully it gets better in the next couple of days. It was a tough decision but a necessary one. I'll keep my head up and hopefully recover for next week.

"I'm very grateful for having being given a wild card and the chance to play a tonne of matches. It's a great facility with great fans.”

Korda, who captured his only tour-level trophy in Parma in 2021, recovered from failing to serve out the match at 5-4 in the third set. He struck two double faults in the game, but responded in the decisive tie-break, saving one match point at 6/7 before converting on his third opportunity to advance after two hours and 31 minutes.

The 23-year-old, currently No. 30 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, now leads Gasquet 2-0 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series.

Lehecka, who will now advance to Saturday’s final, ousted Australian Max Purcell 7-6(4), 6-4. Purcell challenged the Czech by often moving forward, but the 21-year-old Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up stayed steady from the baseline and won 84 per cent of his first-serve points to advance moments before heavy rain in North Carolina.

"Super happy with my win today. After two three-setters, to finally finish in straight sets against a player like Max is always special," Lehecka said. "To [finish] before the rain came is a bonus. I'm very happy with my performance today."