Soonwoo Kwon claims historic title in Adelaide

14 January 2023, by Darren Parkin

Soonwoo Kwon has capped off a memorable week and completed the perfect Australian Open preparation with victory in the final of the Adelaide International 2.

Kwon twice came from a break down in the third set to claim his second ATP title 6-4 3-6 7-6 (4) over Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut after a two hours and 43 minutes.

The world No.84 previously won the Astana Open in Kazakhstan in 2021, when he became the first South Korean to win a title on the ATP Tour.

Kwon is now the first player from his nation to claim multiple professional titles, turning the tables on an ignominious start to the season, when he lost in the first round of qualifying in last week’s Adelaide tournament, and in the final qualifying round of this week’s event.

After entering the Adelaide International 2 main draw as a lucky loser, the 25-year-old will now head to Melbourne Park full of of confidence.

Kwon broke early in the first set to establish control, immediately finding the range that served him well against Jack Draper in yesterday’s semifinal.

The South Korean didn’t drop a point in his first three service games on the way to claiming the opening set 6-4.

He struck 15 winners to five and served seven aces to two in another powerful display of ball striking.

Bautista Agut’s first serve percentage in the opening set slipped to 48 per cent, opening the door for Kwon several times.

The second set saw the match transform, with the world No.26 finding his range to win all but two points on his first serve.

Kwon still hit 13 winners in that second set, but Bautista Agut produced only one unforced error on the way to levelling the contest.

The third set was a very different affair, with four breaks of serve and longer rallies with players beginning to fatigue in the Adelaide heat.

Kwon was down a break twice in that deciding set, levelling the contest both times before holding his nerve in the breaker.

He will now head to Melbourne Park to take on Christopher Eubanks of the United States.

“It was a really tough match today and the fans in here are fantastic in helping us. It’s a great place to play,” Kwon said after the win.

Bautista Agut was appearing in his 22nd ATP Final and his first in Australia and he feels well prepared for next week’s Australian Open.

“It’s been two wonderful weeks here playing both tournaments in Adelaide. I always enjoy Australia and feel like I play well here, now I turn my mind to Melbourne,” he said.

Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer, of El Savador and the Netherlands respectively, claimed the 2023 Adelaide International doubles title via a walkover.

Their scheduled opponents, Croatian-American duo Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek, withdrew this morning after Dodig had a back complaint flare up overnight. 

The pair also received a walkover through their semifinal clash the day before.

“It’s very unusual. This has never happened before, I think for either of us, back-to-back walkovers — especially not in the final, in this manner,” Rojer said after the trophy ceremony.

“We played a couple of matches, so we’ll take those with us into Melbourne for sure, and try to build on that… It’s a great start for us to the year.”

Arevalo and Roger have now won five tour titles together and are ranked world No.6 in the doubles rankings.