TennisSection previews the 2022 Australian Open as Pablo Carreno Busta takes on Sebastian Korda in the third round on Friday, January 21st, 2022.
Both Pablo Carreno Busta and Sebastian Korda were pushed to five sets by their respective opponents on Wednesday, but narrowly avoided the upset. Ahead of their third-round collision at the Australian Open on Friday, who will have enough left in the tank?
Pablo Carreno Busta and Sebastian Korda both needed over fours of tennis to book their spots in the third round of the Australian Open. Carreno Busta took four hours and 10 minutes to defeat the ATP Challenger’s Player of the Year Tallon Griekspoor – winner of a record-breaking eight titles at that level. The Spaniard produced one of the shots of the tournament in that win, when a miscued smash by his opponent bounced on his side of the court and returned back from where it came from. Carreno Busta’s court awareness and presence of mind made him accelerate towards the net in the space between the chair umpire and the net to finish a certain dead ball.
Sebastian Korda, for his part, came through a more grueling five-setter against the in-form Frenchman Corentin Moutet. Korda, as you remember, had knocked out the high-flying British No. 1 Cameron Norrie with such ease in the first round that he was expected to breeze past Moutet. But instead, Moutet timed his offensive game plan and was happy to sit back and let Korda go for overcooked shots. That nearly proved adequate as Moutet came within a game of reaching the third round of the Australian Open, but was foiled in his attempt to serve for the match. Korda would win a dramatic five-setter in a 10-point tiebreak.
Pablo Carreno Busta and Sebastian Korda are yet to play at any level. Friday’s match will be their first head-to-head meeting. Korda would have been my pick to win this match, but he looked slightly lethargic against Moutet. Carreno Busta is a significant upgrade of a counter-puncher and his offensive game is also better than the Frenchman’s. This has the makings of another five-set epic.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Pablo Carreno Busta in five sets.
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