Australia’s James Duckworth is into his first ATP Tour final after he defeated eighth seed Ilya Ivashka 6-3, 7-6(4) on Saturday at the Astana Open.
The World No. 65, who is yet to drop a set in Nur-Sultan, saved two set points at 4-5 in the second set as he hit with great depth to pin Ivashka behind the baseline to advance after two hours and two minutes.[FOLLOW ACTION]
“I am really excited,” Duckworth said. “I am thrilled. It was a really tough match. Ilya has been playing some great tennis this year. We have played twice already this year, both times went to three sets.
“I knew it was going to be really difficult but I managed to win that second set in a tie-break. it was a very close set that could have gone either way. I think I played the big points well.”
Duckworth has now won his last nine matches, having triumphed in Istanbul at an ATP Challenger Tour event last week. The 29-year-old was competing in his first tour-level semi-final since he enjoyed a run to the last four in Pune in 2020.
Ivashka, currently at a career-high No. 52 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, was aiming to win his second tour-level title this week, after triumphing in Winston-Salem last month. The 27-year-old had won 11 of his past 12 matches before his match against Duckworth.
The Australian will face Soonwoo Kwon in the championship match after the South Korean upset second seed Alexander Bublik 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 to reach his first tour-level final.
Kwon, who enjoyed a run to the semi-finals in Eastbourne in June, broke three times and fired seven aces to advance after two hours and four minutes.
”It will be a tough match,” Duckworth added. “Kwon is more of a baseliner. I will have to be ready. I am just going to recover the best I can and come out tomorrow and see what happens.”