American rising tennis star, Sebastian Korda is set to play in his first major quarterfinal against Karen Khachanov at the ongoing Australian Open.
Korda earned his place by taking the last three points of the match to edge out No 10 seed Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (10-7).
“Those are the toughest points to win … those last three there,” said Korda, whose father, Petr, won the 1998 Australian Open. “They’re brutal in a way.”
The 22-year-old has made it a point to reach out and tap signs marking the titles won by his father and by mentor Andre Agassi in the hallway leading to the court in Rod Laver Arena.
“Every single time I walk by, I always give … a little fist bump,” Korda said. “Kind of makes me feel like they’re with me, in a way. I always know that they’re watching. They’re both very special for me. They helped me a ton.”
Korda’s mother was a professional tennis player, too, and his two older sisters play professional golf. They’ve been following on TV from the United States during the Australian Open, despite the 16-hour time difference between the US east coast and Melbourne.
“I just got off the phone with them,” Korda said about his parents. “They’re going to try to go to bed.”
This victory followed up a third-round win for Korda against 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, the runner-up at Melbourne Park each of the past two years.
The 29th-seeded Korda will face 18th-seeded Karen Khachanov for a spot in the semi-finals.
Korda was one of four American men to get to the fourth round, along with Ben Shelton, JJ Wolf and Tommy Paul.
However, according to CNN, the 22-year-old still says he’s the “worst athlete” in his family.
In truth, the young American has tougher competition than most, coming from a family full of champions across two different sports.
Both of his parents are former tennis players. His dad, Petr, won the Australian Open in 1998, while his mother, Regina Rajchrtova, achieved a career high ranking of 26.
His sisters, Jessica and Nelly, are both professional golf players – and very good ones at that. Jessica has won six LPGA events in her career, while Nelly won the Women’s PGA Championship in 2021.