Tennis

Sebastian Korda wins Davis Cup debut, helps US to 2-0 lead in qualifier vs. Columbia

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RENO, Nev. — Sebastian Korda won his Davis Cup debut by outlasting scrappy Nicolas Mejia 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 on Friday to help give the United States a 2-0 lead in its qualifier against Colombia.

Taylor Fritz, the No. 1 American in this qualifier, had a much easier time in the second singles match, overwhelming Alejandro Gonzalez 6-1, 6-0 on a hard indoor court at the Reno Events Center. Fritz, ranked No. 20 in the world, won the final 11 games and clinched the match on his serve.

Korda, 21, is the son of former tennis pro Petr Korda. Ranked No. 40, Korda used 12 aces to help overcome some serving woes and a few calls that didn’t go his way.

Mejia, ranked No. 265, made it interesting in the second set by winning six straight games after Korda opened it by breaking serve. Mejia showed plenty of emotion in the match, pumping his fists and at one point tapping his chest with his racket.

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Mostly stoic throughout the match, Korda showed some emotion in the third set with a big fist pump after hitting a winner down the line on a thundering forehand to take a 2-0 lead. After reaching triple match point on a passing shot, he pumped his fist and urged the crowd. After Mejia won the next point, Korda clinched the match when the Colombian hit out.

« I was pretty comfortable, » said Korda, who credited coach Mardy Fish for his cool leadership. « We always knew that we were sitting pretty and I was happy to come through at the end. »

Korda said he sought advice from his father, who played several Davis Cup matches, and Radek Stepanek, another former Czech star, and even spent a week with Andre Agassi. « They were all a big help just kind of settling me down a little bit. A lot of great people in my corner and just super happy to win in my debut. »

Fritz, 24, watched Korda’s third set. « Seby did a great job, competed really hard. It was tough, obviously, a lot of pressure playing the first rubber, » Fritz said. « It was great for him to get that win and I just felt even more confident coming out for the second match. »

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