American star Sebastian Korda has become the first player to retire injured during this year's Australian Open after falling behind to Russian Karen Khachanov in the quarter-final. Korda has stunned the Australian Open after knocking out one of the favourites, Daniil Medvedev, in the fourth round.
However, Khachanov's immense baseline shots immediately put Korda on the back foot as the technically gifted American struggled to match the ground strokes. The level of play was very-high in the first two sets as Khachanov continued to find the backhand down the line to lead 7-6, 6-3, 3-0 after an hour and 50 minutes on court.
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Korda took a break after his level of game had dropped off quite significantly. The American appeared unable to overcome a wrist injury that was causing him trouble.
Korda approached the Russian and the two embraced as the American announced he had retired from the match. Korda became the first player to retire mid-match in 242 Australian Open games at this year's tournament.
The tennis world was quick to praise the quarter-final contest, while feeling sorry for Korda after the 22-year-old ended a brilliant start to the 2023 season in a 'sad' way.
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After the match, Khachanov went on to praise Korda for the contest. He also reflected on his brilliant six months that saw him reach the US Open semi-final at the end of last year.
"Back to back semi finals in a grand slam feels great," said 18th seed, who also reached the final four at last year's US Open after beating Australian Nick Kyrgios in the quarters. "It's obviously not the way you want to finish a match and I think until a certain point it was very competitive and a good battle.
"I'm feeling good and really happy about my level and the way I compete and looking forward to semi-finals here in Australia for the first time."
Khachanov got off to a flying start and led 5-2 in the first set before Korda found his groove to push it to a tiebreaker. He showed no signs of the injury until seeking treatment with his game then derailing.
The 22-year-old briefly left the court between the second and third sets and tried to continue before calling it quits. Unfortunately, Korda's loss puts a halt to the dream of the 22-year-old matching his father's achievement of winning the 1998 Australian Open title.
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