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Pole prevails

Korda, 20 and ranked 119th in the world, was playing in his first ATP final.

Agence France-Presse



Hubert Hurkacz becomes the first Pole to win at Delray Beach. / Mark Brown/ Getty Images/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MIAMI (AFP) — Fourth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz claimed the second ATP title of his career Wednesday with a straight-sets victory over Sebastian Korda in the final at Delray Beach, Florida.

The 23-year-old from Poland, ranked 35th in the world, needed just 68 minutes to overcome Korda 6-3, 6-3, completing his run to the title without dropping a set.

Korda, 20 and ranked 119th in the world, was playing in his first ATP final, his Delray run highlighted by a quarterfinal win over second-seeded fellow American John Isner.

The former junior world No. 1, son of former Australian Open winner Petr Korda, got off to a hot start, racing to a 3-1 lead.

But Hurkacz won five games in a row to take the first set and broke twice in the second.

Hurkacz sealed the win on his first match point with a lob that dropped just inside the baseline to give him a second title to go with his 2019 Winston-Salem triumph.

“I was trying to focus on the things that I should do and to stay aggressive, because Sebastian is never going to hand me the match,” Hurkacz said.

“Sometimes It’s even tougher when your opponent is not feeling 100 percent well.”

“He’s trying to focus on what he can do, and he can serve big and hit big shots from the baseline. So it was crucial for me to stay aggressive and get an advantage there.”

Korda scored victories over No. 95 Soonwoo Kwon, No. 52 Tommy Paul, No. 25 John Isner and No. 74 Cameron Norrie to reach his first ATP Tour final.

He powered to an early lead against Hurkacz, dealing damage with his backhand to claim a break of serve in the first game of the match.

“The way Korda is playing, it will be amazing what he can achieve in the future,” Hurkacz acknowledged.

“It’s too bad that he wasn’t 100 percent fit today, but his game is there. I’m sure he’ll be holding many trophies in the future.”

But the American, who previously dropped his first eight finals as a pro before last year’s ATP Challenger Tour breakthrough in Eckental, couldn’t maintain the level as Hurkacz capitalized on an error-prone stretch to make his way back.

From 1-3 down, Hurkacz came back to win five games in a row to take the opening set.

Hurkacz stayed comfortably in control in the second set as Korda’s struggles continued.

He broke twice more, claiming the match with a lob winner to become the first Pole champion to reign at Delray Beach.

“It feels great,” Hurkacz said.

“It’s the beginning of the season and I still need to work on a couple of things, but I hope I can play even better in Australia.”