PARMA, Italy — Sebastian Korda won his first ATP trophy with a straight-sets victory over Italian wild-card Marco Cecchinato at the Emilia-Romagna Open on Saturday.
Korda became the first American man in 11 years to lift a trophy on European clay, since Sam Querrey won in Belgrade in 2010.
Korda, 20, did not drop a set all week in Parma, carrying that run into the final to see off the 104th-ranked Cecchinato 6-2, 6-4 in 75 minutes.
Korda had lost the only other final he had contested, against Hubert Hurkacz at the Delray Beach Open in January.
“This is something that I’ve dreamed of,” said Korda, who is ranked 63rd. “I really thought I was going to get it done in Delray Beach, and I was a little heartbroken.
“But I stayed positive, even with such a bad first part of the clay-court season. I took a couple of days off, recharged my batteries and had a really good practice week in Prague with my dad and my coach. I came back hungrier, and I’m playing some really good tennis now.”
Korda’s father is former second-ranked Petr Korda. They are the third father-son duo to win tour-level singles titles in the Open era, following in the footsteps of Ramanathan Krishnan and Krishnan and Phil and Taylor Dent.
Korda had never even won back-to-back main-draw matches on clay before arriving in Parma. But he had stormed through to the final and held his nerve despite being faced with a partisan home crowd.
He won 82% of points on his first serve and broke three times, including the decisive break at 5-4 on Cecchinato’s serve to clinch the title.
Korda also staved off the one break point he faced, late in the second set.
“Today I played a really tough opponent and the crowd wasn’t easy,” Korda said. “They kept cheering him on, but I’m really proud of myself and how I handled it.”