Korda among those moving into Delray tennis quarterfinals

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DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Sebastian Korda is back in the quarterfinals of the Delray Beach Open, after the tournament’s No. 5 seed fought past Andreas Seppi.

Korda, a Delray finalist last year, needed nearly two hours to beat Seppi 7-5, 6-3 and earn his quarterfinal spot. He’ll next face top-seeded Cameron Norrie, a 6-3, 7-5 winner over Oscar Otte in the last match on the schedule.

Korda downed Norrie in last year’s Delray semifinals.

Fourth-seeded Tommy Paul and unseeded Stefan Kozlov will meet in another quarterfinal, after they combined to lose a total of six games in easy wins. Paul needed only an hour in very windy conditions to beat Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-0, and Kozlov ousted Steve Johnson 6-1, 6-3.

“I’ve trained here for a very long time so I’m kind of used to it,” Paul said about playing in the wind. “I’d say it gave me a slight advantage over him. I don’t know how much he’s training in outdoor, windy conditions.”

Paul and Kozlov have been practice partners in recent years, especially when both were spending time in South Florida earlier in the pandemic.

“We know each other’s game really well,” Paul said. “He’s a very, very tricky player. It should be a good one.”

The bottom half of the draw will play its round-of-16 matches, including an all-U.S. matchup pitting No. 2 seed Reilly Opelka against Jack Sock. Opelka is 8-2 all-time at Delray Beach, including a run to the 2020 championship there and a three-set win over then-No. 1 seeded Sock in the second round of the 2018 event.

Other matches will have John Millman facing Marcus Giron, No. 7 seed Adrian Mannarino against Brandon Nakashima, and No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov meeting Mitchell Krueger.

Alycia Parks reaches 1st WTA quarterfinal in Ostrava

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.

The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.

The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.

“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.

Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.

Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.

Djokovic beats Van de Zandschulp to reach Astana quarters

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.

Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.

“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.