Kwon Soon-woo wins out in the battle of first time ATP finalists
The Korean star secured his first ever ATP title at the 250 level Astana Open, overcoming another final debutant in Kazakhstan.
Kwon Soon-woo clinched a maiden ATP title by ousting Australian James Duckworth 7-6 (8-6), 6-3. With the title, Kwon becomes just the second Korean man in the Open Era to secure an ATP title, the last being Hyung-Taik Lee in 2003 in Sydney, Australia.
When asked what the triumph meant to him, Kwon acknowledged this fact and expressed his national pride.
“To win the title as a Korean, it has been 18 years and it means a lot to me and I am really proud of myself,” Kwon told the ATP tour.
“I feel great and really happy for myself and my team and all the people supporting me from Korea.
“Winning this tournament is going to help a lot of players in South Korea and is going to help a lot of guys who are trying to go out there.
“The younger guys will look up to me and they are going to believe they can do it as well.”
Kwon defeated three seeds en route to the title: third seed Dusan Lajovic (world number 35), seventh seed Laslo Djere (49) and second seed Alexander Bublik (34).
“The key point was being relaxed and not getting panicked,” Kwon said of his approach to the event. “I tried to get my game face on and stayed focused and that was it.
“Just trying to stay in the match. Especially in the quarter-finals (against Djere), it was a tough match for me with a lot of ups and downs, but I just tried to stay calm and didn’t panic.”
Kwon was ranked at 82 in the world coming into the tournament, while Duckworth was 65th in the ATP rankings. Now, both men will climb to a new career-high position, with Kwon at world number 57 and Duckworth at 56.
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