Kwon Edges Bautista Agut To Seal Stunning Adelaide Triumph
Soonwoo Kwon polished off a stirring tale of second-chance success on Saturday at the Adelaide International 2, where the South Korean held off Roberto Bautista Agut in an absorbing championship match to triumph at the ATP 250 event.
The South Korean edged the fourth-seeded Bautista Agut 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) in a two-hour, 43-minute epic to lift his second ATP Tour title. Only playing in the main draw as a lucky loser after losing in the final round of qualifying, he took out Tomas Machac, Pablo Carreno Busta, Mikael Ymer, Jack Draper and Bautista Agut with a series of big-hitting displays this week in South Australia.
“Since being beaten in [qualifying], I told myself I've got nothing to lose, and then I came all the way to the finals,” said Kwon after his victory. “And why not? I put every energy into it, and that worked.”
Kwon made a fast start to his maiden ATP Head2Head clash with Bautista Agut, breaking the Spaniard in the opening game of the match with more of the free-flowing groundstrokes that had defined his run to the final. Some solid serving ensured he faced no break points for the rest of a set that he clinched in confident fashion to the delight of his vocal supporters in the stands.
Bautista Agut returned the favour in the second set, however, sealing an early break of his own en route to forcing a decider. A high-quality deciding-set featured a series of exhilarating all-court exchanges, with two breaks of serve apiece leading to a decisive tie-break with little to choose between the two players.
It was Kwon who found something extra in the closing stages, however, as his fearsome forehand allowed him to take control of rallies at crucial moments. He reeled off four points in a row from 3/4 to claim victory in a highly entertaining championship match having struck 42 winners to Bautista Agut’s 23.
“It was a really tough match today,” said Kwon. “I don't know, I'm just really happy to win today. It's crazy.”
The 25-year-old Kwon is the first South Korean to win multiple ATP Tour titles, following his maiden triumph in Astana in 2021. After becoming the first lucky loser to lift a tour-level trophy since Marco Cecchinato in Budapest in 2018, Kwon rises 32 spots to No. 52 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.