Kwon Denies Draper To Reach Adelaide Final

  • Posted: Jan 13, 2023

Kwon Denies Draper To Reach Adelaide Final

South Korean awaits Kokkinakis or Bautista Agut

Soonwoo Kwon delivered a high-quality display of baseline hitting on Friday at the Adelaide International 2, where he clinched a spot in the championship match with a 7-6(6), 6-7(2), 6-3 semi-final victory against Jack Draper.

The South Korean, who lost to Draper last week as a qualifier in Adelaide, was set to miss out on this week’s ATP 250 after a defeat to Tomas Machac in the final round of qualifying. But after finding himself in the draw, he immediately avenged his loss to Machac in the opening round before downing second seed Pablo Carreno Busta and Mikael Ymer to reach the last four.

“It was a very difficult match today,” said Kwon when asked about how he had kept going in his two-hour, 45-minute battle with Draper in the Adelaide heat. “I’m just really happy to win today… Last week he played very well, so I tried to just tried to enjoy this match and tried to be positive. I tried to be more aggressive.”

The key to Kwon’s victory in an engrossing semi-final encounter was his consistent clean ballstriking from the baseline, particularly off his forehand wing. The World No. 84 struck 44 winners to his opponent’s 36, and he also excelled whenever he came under pressure on serve — Kwon saved nine of 10 break points he faced en route to levelling his ATP Head2Head series with Draper at 1-1.

After gaining payback on Draper, he is through to his second ATP Tour final after his 2021 title run in Astana (then Nur-Sultan). Kwon is the first lucky loser to reach the final in Adelaide’s tournament history, with six editions of the event played since 2020.

Kwon awaits home favourite and 2022 Adelaide International 2 champion Thanasi Kokkinakis or fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut in Saturday’s championship match.

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