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Preview: Tommy Paul vs. Sebastian Korda - prediction, head-to-head, tournament so far

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Queen's semi-final tie between Tommy Paul and Sebastian Korda, including predictions, head-to-head and their tournament so far.

Saturday's second semi-final at the Queen's Club Championships will pit Tommy Paul against Sebastian Korda.

Both players survived three-set quarter-finals to advance at the Cinch Championships, adding more intrigue to the all-American tussle.

Match preview

Tommy Paul hits a shot at the Queen's Club Championships on June 21, 2024 [IMAGO]© Imago

Just when Jack Draper seemed unbeatable on grass, Paul had other ideas on Friday to hand the Briton his first grass-court defeat of the season, ending the former's seven-match streak to win 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

Despite trailing 3-1 in their head-to-head before the quarter-final meeting, the American stunned the home crowd in the pair's first-ever battle on the surface.

Having adapted better to windy conditions against Draper, Paul aims to advance to Sunday's decider against Lorenzo Musetti or Jordan Thompson, but much will depend on his recovery after playing for two hours and five minutes against the British No. 1.

It also remains to be seen how the American fares under the weight of expectation after defeating the favourite, with Draper admitting to struggling after expending lots of emotional energy against Carlos Alcaraz the previous day.

Indeed, it sets things up nicely for the all-American semi, as Paul seeks his second final on grass, having made the decider in Eastbourne last year, losing to Francisco Cerundolo.

Sebastian Korda reacts at the Queen's Club Championships on June 21, 2024 [IMAGO]© Imago

Four years his countryman's junior, Korda seeks another victory over the man he defeated in last week's ATP 250 event in the Netherlands, keen to make his first grass-court final.

The 23-year-old overcame Australian qualifier Rinky Hijikata 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4 to advance to another semi-final at the Cinch Championships after last year's positive run before losing to Alcaraz.

Korda does not have the Spaniard to worry about in the last four this time, and he aims to repeat his straight-sets win over Paul at the Libema Open.

The world No. 23 will be wary of his more experienced opponent, who just eliminated Draper on Friday despite entering the last eight match with a negative record against the Briton.

In any case, Korda hopes to have enough in his legs having had to mount a comeback in his quarter-final triumph over Hijikata and playing three sets in the previous round against Grigor Dimitrov, defeating the Bulgarian 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

Tournament so far

Tommy Paul:

First round: vs. Sebastian Baez 6-4 6-4
Round of 16: vs. Alejandro Tabilo 6-3 6-4
Quarter-final: vs. Jack Draper 6-3 5-7 6-4

Sebastian Korda:

First round: vs. Karen Khachanov 7-5 7-6 (5)
Round of 16: vs. Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 3-6 7-5
Quarter-final: vs. Rinky Hijikata 6-7 (4) 6-3 6-4

Head To Head

Delray Beach (2021) - Round of 16: Korda 4-6 6-3 6-2

Parma (2021) - Semi-final: Korda 6-3 6-3

San Diego (2021) - Round of 32: Korda 6-3 5-7 6-1

US Open (2022) - Round of 64: Paul 6-0 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4

's-Hertogenbosch (2024) - Quarter-final: Korda 6-4 6-2

As previously stated, Korda had dominated this American rivalry, even recently claiming a comfortable win in the Netherlands. That triumph saw the younger player improve his lead to 4-1, arguably making him the favourite on Saturday in the eyes of many.

Last week's quarter-final match at the Libema Open was the pair's first encounter since Paul triumphed in an epic five-setter at the 2022 US Open, the higher-ranked player's only victory in five against Korda.

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We say: Paul to win in three sets

Saturday's semi-final is quite close to call, even if the head-to-head and a recent win in the Netherlands point to a Korda victory.

However, Paul has spent far less time on court than his opponent this week, possibly making him fresher to go the distance and make a second grass-court final against Musetti or Thompson.

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