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Preview: Sebastian Korda vs. Carlos Alcaraz - prediction, head-to-head, tournament so far

Sports Mole previews Friday's Australian Open third-round match between Sebastian Korda and Carlos Alcaraz, including predictions, head-to-head and their tournament so far.

For the second time in three years, the USA's Sebastian Korda and Carlos Alcaraz will clash racquets in the French Open third round, this time on Court Philippe-Chatrier in Friday's night session.

Both seeds came through four-set affairs in their second round-ties, as Korda battled his way past South Korea's Kwon Soon-woo, while Alcaraz sent Dutch qualifier Jesper de Jong packing.


Match preview

Sebastian Korda reacts at the French Open on May 30, 2024© Reuters

Men's 27th seed Korda shall long possess fond memories of Roland-Garros, where he reached the fourth round in his very first appearance at any Grand Slam in 2020, before making it all the way to the quarter-finals at the 2023 Australian Open.

Still just 23 years of age, the 6ft 5in American has been a somewhat familiar face in ATP Tour finals - competing in six such events but only prevailing in one at the 2021 Emilia-Romagna Open - but he has laid down a couple of early markers in Paris so far.

After sending one of the many French wildcards - Harold Mayot - packing in straight sets, Korda survived a third-set capitulation against Soon-woo, getting the job done 6-4 6-4 1-6 6-3 against the world number 494 on Friday morning.

Making use of his intimidating power and physical frame, the 27th seed came up with 13 aces and converted six points against his Korean foe to reach the third round, although he has suffered disappointment after disappointment at this stage of various tournaments in 2024.

Indeed, Korda's Australian Open run in January ended in round three, while four of his five Masters tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome also saw the American bow out at this juncture, giving his revered foe the early edge as far as recent omens go.

Carlos Alcaraz pictured at the French Open on May 26, 2024© Reuters

As is the case with Korda, Alcaraz - still sporting his protective strapping around his hitting arm - came through his opening Roland-Garros tie in three sets before being taken to four in his subsequent battle, starting with a comprehensive thrashing of JJ Wolf.

Dutch qualifier De Jong earned himself a date with the world number three on account of shocking Jack Draper in round one, but despite also prolonging the tie with a third-set triumph, Alcaraz came roaring back to prevail 6-3 6-4 2-6 6-2 with three hours and eight minutes gone.

Much has been made of Alcaraz's forehand strength amid his recent injury woes on his dominant side, but the Spaniard further laid such concerns to rest against De Jong - striking 26 of his 34 winners on his forehand and also displaying his powers of recovery when under the cosh.

Indeed, Alcaraz lost both of his opening service games in the fourth set only to immediately break back each time, and the reigning Wimbledon champion has not fallen at the third round of a major since the 2022 Australian Open, reaching at least the quarters in his last five Grand Slams.

Things will not get any easier for Alcaraz if he can fend off the threat of Korda on Friday, as either 15th seed Ben Shelton or 21st seed Felix Auger-Aliassime will stand in his way of the quarters, but his upcoming foe is not to be discounted by any stretch.


Tournament so far

Sebastian Korda:

First round: vs. Harold Mayot 6-2 7-6[4] 6-4
Second round: vs. Kwon Soon-woo 6-4 6-4 1-6 6-3

Carlos Alcaraz:

First round: vs. JJ Wolf 6-1 6-2 6-1
Second round: vs. Jesper de Jong 6-3 6-4 2-6 6-2


Head To Head

Queen's Club Championships (2023) - Semi-final: Alcaraz wins 6-3 6-4
French Open (2022) - Third round: Alcaraz wins 6-4 6-4 6-2
Monte-Carlo Masters (2022) - Second round: Korda wins 7-6[2] 6-7[5] 6-3
Next Gen ATP Finals (2021) - Final: Alcaraz wins 4-3[5] 4-2 4-2

As mentioned, Alcaraz and Korda have previous when it comes to clashing in the third round of the French Open, where the Spaniard earned his second of three wins against the American in a straight-sets success.

The youthful duo only crossed paths once in the 2023 season, but Alcaraz also made relatively light work of that meeting at the Queen's Club Championships too, and the 21-year-old also boasts a three-set win over the American in the 2021 Next Gen ATP Finals trophy match.

If there is one sliver of head-to-head hope for Korda to cling onto, it is the fact that his solitary success from four previous meetings with Alcaraz came on clay, edging out the world number three in an epic Monte Carlo second-round tie in 2022.


SM words green background

We say: Alcaraz to win in four sets

Enjoying strikingly similar second-round triumphs, both Korda and Alcaraz responded in terrific fashion to third-set blips earlier in the week, although the latter has already learned how to navigate his way past the American youngster on all three surfaces.

While Alcaraz was nowhere near his best against De Jong, he can always rely on his venomous forehand to get him out of a sticky spot, and we can only picture the Wimbledon champion punching his ticket to round four.

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