The first semi-final of this year’s Rolex Shanghai Open was settled on Thursday and will feature America’s Sebastian Korda and Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz who successfully progressed past their quarter final opponents in three sets. The second semi-final will be known on Friday when the remaining two quarter finals are scheduled for play.
He’s such an electric tennis player and it was a lot of fun to share the court with him today Sebastian Korda
The match of the day was the all-American clash between Korda and Ben Shelton – the first in six years – and saw Korda recover from losing a tight first set to defeat his countryman 6-7(10) 6-2 7-6(6).
“It’s super cool,” Korda after the two hour 55- minute encounter. “I played a really high level. Ben did as well, so I think it was a really high level. We had a lot of great points out there and hopefully it’s the first of many battles that we play against each other.
“He’s such an electric tennis player and it was a lot of fun to share the court with him today.”
Korda let slip a 4-2 lead in the third but then led 6-1 in the breaker only to miss on additional break points. However, he managed to hold off his 21-year-old countryman to continue his recent strong run of form, clocking up his 10th win from 12 matches since the US Open.
Shelton, playing his first Masters quarterfinal, won five straight points from 6-1 down in that breaker. He also slammed down 15 aces and twice came from 15-40 down in the third set to hold.
“I’m just thankful to stay calm,” Korda added. “I played some bad points, but I always believed in myself, even at 6-6 (in the crucial breaker). I just thought about putting the return in the court, somehow getting my racket on it and luckily, I finished it off then.”
In the semi-finals, he’ll face Hubert Hurkacz who also came from a set down in his semi-final after defeating the in-form 24-year-old Hungarian, Fabian Marozsan, conqueror of Casper Ruud, 4-6 6-1 6-3.
Hurkacz took control after dropping the first set and in the next two, he slammed down 18 aces and never faced another break point in the one-hour, 43-minute clash.
“He came with some really great shots, and I just needed to stay positive and keep committing to the gameplan,” Hurkacz admitted. “To be aggressive, because if I dropped anything short, he was just taking advantage of it and coming (up) with some really incredible shots. I knew I had to stay on point today.”
For Hurkacz it will be his 15th career tour semi-final and sixth at ATP 1000 level as he chases his second Masters title having won in Miami (2021) to keep his hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals in Turin, alive.
As already mentioned, the remaining quarter finals conclude on Friday with fifth seeded Andrey Rublev squaring off against Frenchman Ugo Humbert whom he leads 2-1, and at the top of the draw, Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, following his removal of the top seeded Carlos Alcaraz, takes on the 6”6’ Chilean, Nicolas Jarry.