On the eve of Roland Garros, 20-year-old American Sebastian Korda scored a career breakthrough when he beat Italian Marco Cecchinato, 6-2, 6-4, in Parma for a first title.
Korda, the son of former world No 2 and Australian Open winner Petr Korda, had never reached a final on the ATP tour and before the Parma event, had never won consecutive matches on clay.
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Cecchinato, who won all three of his titles on clay, comes from Brescia, 90 kilometres from Parma.
The fans allowed into the first-time event supported for the local boy.
“Today I played a really tough opponent and the crowd wasn’t easy,” Korda said. “They kept cheering him on, but I’m really proud of myself and how I handled it.”
Although his father is Czech, Sebastian Korda, who was born in Florida, chose to represent the US.
Saturday’s victory made him the first American player to win a clay court tournament since Sam Querrey in Belgrade 11 years ago.
“This is something that I’ve dreamed of,” Korda said, adding that he had expected to win a title sooner, naming an event in Florida in January.
“I really thought I was going to get it done in Delray Beach, and I was a little heartbroken.”