WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up French Open tips for mouth-watering third-round showdown between young guns Sebastian Korda and Carlos Alcaraz Garfia.
04:45 (AEST), Fri 28th May @ Stade de Roland Garros, Paris
History: Played 2: Alcaraz 1 V Korda 1
Last meeting: Monte-Carlo Masters, 2022 (R32): Korda d Alcaraz 7-6 6-7 6-3
Final Thoughts: Arguably the biggest showdown of the tournament so far, despite the fact whiz kids Carlos Alcaraz and Sebastian Korda have competed in a mere 33 grand slam matches between them.
Alcaraz is on the second line of title betting behind Novak Djokovic, taking the tennis world by storm with tournament wins at the Rio Open, Miami Open, Barcelona Open and Madrid Open, along with a run to the Indian Wells final, and overwhelming a slew of the game’s biggest names.
But after breezing past Juan Ignacio Londero in the first round, the 19-year-old ran into some trouble against veteran Albert Ramos Vinolas. Sixth seed Alcaraz found himself two sets to one down, before surviving a fourth set tiebreak and match point, before winning the decider 6-4.
The 21-year-old Korda – whose dad, Petr, won the Australian Open and was a French Open finalist – climbed into the top-30 for the first time after picking up his maiden ATP title at the Emilia-Romagna Open in May.
Korda has enjoyed a worry-free path to the third round at Roland Garros, beating Aussie journeyman and French stalwart Richard Gasquet in straight sets. He’s fired down 17 aces so far and has dropped only four games on serve.
Recent clash levels playing field
Korda also boasts the handy psychological edge of being the last player to beat Alcaraz. The American scored a 7-6 6-7 6-3 upset at last month’s Monte-Carlo Masters, before reaching the semis of the Estoril Open. Alcaraz struggled to convert break points against Korda in that loss, which was a feature of his torrid time against Ramos-Vinolas.
But Alcaraz did win the pair’s showdown in the final of the Next Gen ATP Finals in late-2021.
Korda will tempt punters as a $5 underdog, but Alcaraz should bounce back from his error-strewn second-round escape with the win here. Nevertheless, it would surprise to see the in-form Korda bow out in straight sets.