© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Sebastian Korda battles back from a break down in the fourth set against Moutet on Wednesday in Melbourne.

Korda Snatches Victory From Jaws Of Defeat

American next faces Carreno Busta

After shocking 12th seed Cameron Norrie in the first round of the Australian Open, Sebastian Korda nearly fell victim to an upset bid from World No. 100 Corentin Moutet on Wednesday.

Instead, the American survived, clawing past the Frenchman 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5, 7-6(6) as he battled to his first career fifth-set win.

Moutet served for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set, but Korda secured his fifth break of the day to extend the four-hour, 47-minute match. Both men escaped 0/40 holes in the final set before Moutet saved two match points at 5-6 to force a decisive 10-point tie-break.

Korda, who is making his Australian Open debut, will now face 19th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round.

The American was the aggressor throughout, frequently taking up position inside the baseline and getting to the net on 94 occasions and winning 70 per cent of those points. Moutet was content to sit back and showed great patience in timing his own attacks, finishing with 61 winners to Korda’s 67.

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For much of the match, Korda was intent on working the ball to the Frenchman’s lefty backhand with his cross-court forehand. But Moutet coolly answered with a combination of jumping, drive backhands and smooth slices to keep Korda from taking the initiative.

Neither man had an easy time on serve in the clash. Korda stared down 23 break points, saving 18 of them of them, while converting five of his 14 break chances on the return.

The 21-year-old also lost the unforced error battle decisively, tallying 92 miscues to his opponent’s 58. But despite a minus-25 on the winners-to-errors count, he found the court at the crucial moments to survive.

This was just the second five-setter of the American’s career, after he lost a heartbreaker to Karen Khachanov in the fourth round of Wimbledon last year, 10-8 in the fifth set. The 2018 Aussie Open boys’ singles champion also reached the last 16 at Roland Garros in 2020, when he made his major debut as a qualifier before losing to Rafael Nadal.

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