Chinese Taipei and China Emerge Victorious in ATF 12&U Regional Qualifying Event (East Asia)

South Korean Soonwoo Kwon broke new ground on Sunday at the Astana Open as he overcame James Duckworth from Australia  7-6(6), 6-3 to capture his first ATP Tour title.

Kwon, who defeated three seeds en-route to the trophy, became the second South Korean man to win a tour-level crown in the Open Era, after 2003 Sydney champion Hyung-Taik Lee as per the ATP website.

In an exciting match, Kwon combined his powerful groundstrokes with great variety to cause Duckworth problems. The 23-year-old saved three set points from 3/6 down in the first-set tie-break, before securing his victory in one hour and 38 minutes in his maiden ATP Tour final.

“I am really happy to win my first ATP 250 title, It was a fantastic tournament and it has been an honour to play here,” Kwon added. “Thank you to my team and my coach for supporting me.”

In a tight first set, both players were strong on serve. Duckworth won 80 per cent (20/25) of points behind his first delivery, with Kwon at 86 per cent (18/21) as they played aggressively. After Duckworth saved the only break point of the set at 4-4, they moved to a tie-break where Kwon showed great resilience to battle back from 3/6 down, winning five straight points to lead.

The 23-year-old then recovered from being broken in the opening game of the second set as he raised his level in the first ATP Head2Head meeting between the pair, sealing the title when Duckworth could only find the net with a forehand return.

Astana Open has proved to be a delight for the players from the Asia Oceania region, with the last year’s singles winner being John Millman from Australia and this year’s edition captured by a Korean.

 

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