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Americans Shelton and Korda fail to reach finals at Australian Open tune-up events

Sebastian Korda suffered a heavy defeat leading into the Australian Open.
Sebastian Korda suffered a heavy defeat leading into the Australian Open.Reuters
Americans Ben Shelton (21) and Sebastian Korda (23) crashed to defeats by lower-ranked opponents on Friday in the semi-finals of Australian Open warm-up tournaments.

Shelton, who burst onto the scene last year by reaching the Melbourne Park quarter-finals and also got to the U.S. Open semis, was looking to reach his second career final but the world number 16 came unstuck against Taro Daniel at the Auckland Classic.

Daniel, ranked 74th in the world, beat Shelton 7-5, 7-6(9) to record his fifth victory over a top 20 opponent and the Japanese player will meet Alejandro Tabilo in his first tour final since Istanbul in 2018.

Tabilo beat Arthur Fils 6-2, 7-5 to progress to the final.

"It's always difficult to play against Ben because he doesn't give you much rhythm," Daniel said. "The ball is really alive and it's about who can put on a little more pressure.

"The tie-break was a real dog fight."

At the Adelaide International, world number 32 Jiri Lehecka thumped the 29th-ranked Korda 6-2, 6-1 and will face Jack Draper or eighth seed Alexander Bublik in the title clash.

Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko will look to build momentum for the Australian Open, which begins on Sunday, when she meets Ekaterina Alexandrova in the semi-finals of the Adelaide women's draw.

Daria Kasatkina and second seed Jessica Pegula contest the other semi-final later on Friday.

Elise Mertens meets Daria Saville in the semi-finals of the Hobart International before Yuan Yue takes on Emma Navarro.

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