Both Cameron Norrie and Sebastian Korda knock out much higher ranked and seeded players to reach the semi-finals of the Delray Beach Open by Vitacost.com even.
He [Tiafoe] fought real hard, and I managed to get a little bit lucky in the third set there with a couple net-cords and a couple close calls,. Real fortunate to get through. Cameron Norrie
The British No.3, Norrie, upset the fourth seeded Frances Tiafoe 6-0 3-6 6-4 while Korda toppled the second seed John Isner 6-3 4-6 6-3 leaving only one seeded player in the last four, namely Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz (4) who dispatched the Ecuadorian qualifier Roberto Quiroz 6-4 6-4.
The final semi-final slot is filled by Christian Harrison, the wildcard who is the last home player standing at the opening event on American soil. He defeated Italian Gianluca Mager 7-6(2) 6-4.
Korda, ranked 119th in the world, booked his first ATP semi-final after one hour and 51-minutes.
“I was super-happy with how I played that whole game. I just stuck with it, I got a little bit more aggressive,” said the 20-year-old, who will play Britain’s Cameron Norrie for a place in the final.
For Norrie, ranked 74, it will be his third appearance at an ATP tournament as he chases his first title on the tour.
“He [Tiafoe] fought real hard, and I managed to get a little bit lucky in the third set there with a couple net-cords and a couple close calls,” Norrie said. “Real fortunate to get through.”
Meanwhile Christian Harrison’s run continued to surprise as he strode into the last four ranked 789, sustaining his remarkable second round victory over the top seed Cristian Garin, describing the week’s results were “pretty amazing.”
“I’m just happy that I have everyone here,” he said. “All my friends and family are here to support, especially here in Delray being so close to home.
“I’m feeling very good. I feel fresh, still. I think a couple days off in between helped,” Harrison, who is also playing the doubles with his older brother Ryan, added. “One of the days off we only had one doubles, which was probably a good recovery anyway. Looking forward to the semis tomorrow.”
On paper the 23-year-old Hurkacz becomes tournament favourite as, at 35, he is the highest ranked player left in the drab but as the results show, there is some strong opposition despite their lower rankings.
“Roberto is tricky to play against,” Hurkacz said after his most recent win. “He slices a lot of balls. I tried to stay competitive and stay in the first set. I’m happy with the win…hopefully I’ll play a great match tomorrow.”
Isner though, following his loss, announced he was withdrawing from the Australian Open because of the quarantine restrictions being imposed by the Aussie authorities. “I’m not going this year,” he said. “I’m staying home”.
Isner, who fled Russia to avoid being quarantined with his family when he tested positive for the coronavirus, explained: “At this stage in my career and in my life, I’ve always had visions of being able to travel with my family, and of course that wouldn’t be the case for Australia this year – understandably so, I get it,”
The decision to withdraw was made at short notice.
“It really was just a situation where I didn’t want to be away from my family for that long, so I decided to stay home.”
“The whole tour is going to be in Australia for five weeks, but I made this decision last night. It wasn’t an easy decision at all, it wasn’t. I thought long and hard about it, but I feel comfortable with my decision right now and I am looking forward to getting home.”
There was also bad news at the Dha, Qatar Australian Open Qualifying tournament with two players testing positive for coronavirus. Denis Kudla of the US and Morocco’s Elliot Benchetrit have been placed in quarantine in Doha and been withdrawn from the event.