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NextGen stars debut in French Open

Agence France-Presse



SEBASTIAN Korda has never played a tour-level match on clay. (PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ATP)

Sebastian Korda was one of three NextGen ATP stars to advance to the Roland Garros main draw for the first time.

The 20-year-old, son of 1992 runner-up Petr Korda, booked his place in the first round in Paris with a 7-5, 6-2 triumph against Aslan Karatsev on Friday.

Korda broke the seventh-seeded Russian on five occasions to claim victory in 90 minutes on Court 7.

“I was really emotional and super excited to qualify for the main draw,” said Korda.

Korda is not the only son of a former Roland Garros finalist to qualify for this year’s event.

Emilio Gomez, son of 1990 champion Andres Gomez, booked his place in the main draw on Thursday.

“It’s pretty cool and [I am] really happy that Emilio got through as well and to keep our dads’ names out there,” said Korda.

The American will make his second straight appearance in a Grand Slam main draw, following his debut at the level at this year’s US Open. Korda pushed eventual quarterfinalist Denis Shapovalov to four sets in the first round.

After failing to qualify in each of his three previous Grand Slam appearances last year, 21-year-old Jurij Rodionov will make his main draw debut at a major championship in Paris.

The Austrian, who claimed two ATP Challenger Tour trophies earlier this year, defeated countryman Sebastian Ofner 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 18 minutes.

Tomas Machac, who was competing in his first Grand Slam qualifying draw, overcame Frederico Ferreira Silva 7-6(6), 6-4. The 19-year-old Czech also claimed straight-sets wins against Julian Lenz and Go Soeda earlier this week.

Michael Mmoh will also make his debut in the first round at Roland Garros this year. The 22-year-old recovered from a set down to beat Renzo Olivo 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

“It feels awesome and I won a main draw match at the Australian Open and US Open this year and this feels better because it’s the first time I qualified for a Grand Slam tournament and I had to earn it the hard way,” said Mmoh. “It feels good to play well on clay and to win three matches.

“It means a lot to qualify and I found a way to win it the hard way. I am confident going into the main draw and I couldn’t be happier for Sebi. We spent a lot of time practicing together and it shows how much work we put in during the break.” (ATP)